New College board member floats leadership shakeup, ‘terminating’ all employee contracts

The Christian Nazis have taken over a liberal arts college that the Deathsantis wannabe king hated as it taught respect and compassion for others along with all the other life skills of education.   I am so worried that we did not realize how behind the curtain these groups were building up power.   Remember the first time he got elected governor Deathsantis barely won, he was almost defeated.   But by giving into the hate and discrimination demanded by the minority haters who cannot accept that time has moved on from cavemen days and stoking that hate into action DeathSantis created a large following.   He won this last election with a wide margin partly due to the corporate democrats insisting on putting a former republican up against him.   Think about it, Democrats don’t want a former republicans who vetoed everything they wanted and the republicans don’t want a republican lite.   Those of us in the state knew this would be the result but the national democratic committees claimed they knew better, as they always do and they are always wrong.   Notice the first thing this new right wing Christian Nationalist insisted on was opening with a prayer to his god, not anyone else’s god but his Christian god.    We are lucky that DeathSantis cannot run again for governor but the state is seriously fucked now as much as other southern states.    Yet it was a blue state not this way when I moved here in 1994.   Sorry I hurt too much to colorize it.    Hugs

Zac Anderson
Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Recently appointed trustee of New College of Florida, Jason "Eddie" Speir, speaks to faculty and staff of New College during a meeting Wednesday morning in Sarasota.

A new president, new board chair and new legal counsel all will be up for discussion Tuesday when the New College of Florida board meets, along with the possibility of ending faculty tenure, terminating all employee contracts and rehiring anyone who fits into the school’s “new financial and business model.”

These are all ideas floated by new board member Eddie Speir in a recent Substack post. They could result in a big shakeup less than a month after Gov. Ron DeSantis reshaped New College’s board in a bid to reinvent the 63-year-old Sarasota school.

Speir, a Christian school founder appointed by DeSantis to the board, wrote a Substack post over the weekend saying he wants to “Discuss need for new president and possible motion to give Pat Okker title of Interim President.”

More:New board member says his assignment is ‘to lead New College of Florida out of wokeness’

More:New era at New College kicks off with contentious meetings, report of death threat

New College President Patricia Okker has been on the job for less than two years, but DeSantis’ push to transform the school has led to speculation about her future at the college and that only increased when Tuesday’s board agenda was released with “President Okker’s Employment Agreement” as one of the discussion items.

The agenda also includes “Election of the Board Chair and Vice Chair” and “General Counsel to Board of Trustees.” Speir appears to be a driving force behind some of these discussions.

New College of Florida President Patricia Okker

Tuesday’s board meeting, which starts at 3 p.m. at the Sudakoff Conference Center, has been a subject of intense interest. It is the first meeting for seven new conservative board members, including six chosen by DeSantis.

Speir and other new board members have criticized the college’s leadership.

Speir clashed with legal counsel David Smolker over his request to open the board meeting with prayer. He said Smolker initially denied the request, but in his latest Substack said that decision was reversed and an opening prayer will be allowed.

Speir writes in his Substack that he wants to “dismiss General Counsel from the Board, NOT the school.” He also makes it clear that he wants to remove board Chair Mary Ruiz.

“My concern is that Chair Ruiz will not resign and/or delay resignation,” he writes. “Thereby halting and/or delaying the necessary clarity that NCF needs as soon as possible.”

Mary Ruiz

New College Professor Amy Reid, director of the school’s gender studies program, urged board members to be more deliberative and not move “rashly” to replace leadership.

“We’ve heard a lot of saber rattling from individuals, but we still haven’t heard from the majority of the board” Reid said. “I encourage the board to find out more about the institution, to really look before they leap when it comes to leadership changes.”

It’s not clear if a majority of board members would back a leadership shakeup at the college.

Mark Bauerlein, one of the board members appointed by DeSantis, told the Herald-Tribune recently that he has “no idea” if he would support Okker’s removal.

“I haven’t seen any records about her, but our phone call the other day was pleasant and informative,” Bauerlein said.

New College of Florida Board of Trustees member Mark Bauerlein

Speir has a long list of motions he plans to make at Tuesday’s board meeting.

Among them is a proposal to identify “wokeness” as a “set of beliefs” akin to religion. He then wants to identify aspects of wokeness that are “shared values” worth preserving, that are “dogmatic” and should be excluded from curriculum and that are “pledges of fealty” that should be actively fought against.

“One such example of a pledge of fealty is the demand that woke pronouns are used,” Speir writes.

Speir also wants to explore ending faculty tenure and “terminating all contracts for faculty, staff and administration and immediately rehiring those faculty, staff and administration who fit in the new financial and business model.” He wants to board to send a letter to “the new counsel” seeking a legal opinion on the feasibility of such a plan.

Another motion Speir plans to introduce would remove some media members from the meeting.

“I move that we remove USA Today and its affiliates from the list of approved media outlets until an apology is received with a commitment from USA Today to adhere to its own policies,” Speir writes, referencing Herald-Tribune parent company Gannett’s flagship newspaper, USA Today.

The Herald-Tribune is part of USA TODAY Network – Florida. Speir is upset about comments made by Herald-Tribune readers.

The Herald-Tribune reached out to Speir for comment Monday morning and has yet to receive a response. When contacted for comment last week, Speir said “I’m still waiting for a formal apology” from the Herald-Tribune and the removal of reader comments.

New College Board of Trustees meeting

The New College of Florida Board of Trustees is meeting from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 31 at Sudakoff Conference Center, 5845 General Dougher Pl Sarasota, FL 34243.

Visit the Herald-Tribune’s website – – for live coverage of the board meeting. A full report on the meeting will be in Thursday’s print newspaper.

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