A board member at The New College of Florida where Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed new board members has responded to a progressive college’s active recruitment of students from New College.
Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, is publicly offering New College students the opportunity to transfer, offering to match tuition and transfer credits.
“It’s incredibly important that colleges and universities do something to try to resist what is essentially an ongoing, expanding and increasingly aggressive effort to limit free inquiry in higher education,” Hampshire College President Edward Wingenbach said while expressing “solidarity” with the transferring students, CBS News reported. “We have to see that for what it is and try and do what’s within our resources and capacities to push back on that. One of the things Hampshire can do is offer students at New College a place to go to escape that.”
Matthew Spalding, a New College board member, responded to Wingenbach in comments to The Daily Signal.
“In Hampshire College’s official announcement that they will take transfer students from New College, they said that they proudly stand with students who ‘crave a progressive education’ and who want their academic experience to focus on discussions of ‘racism, white supremacy, gender identity, structural barriers to equity, and the reproduction of oppressive hierarchies,’” Spalding said.
“That sounds to me like political indoctrination, which is not a serious alternative to a rigorous study of the liberal arts,” Spalding, who also serves as a professor at Hillsdale College in Michigan, added.
DeSantis appointed six new members to the New College board of trustees, including Christopher Rufo, to shift the state university away from promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion; critical race theory; and gender ideology.
“The mission has been I think more into the DEI, CRT, the gender ideology rather than what a liberal arts education should be,” DeSantis said of New College during a press conference in January.
DeSantis says he aims to ensure that the college’s funding is properly allocated, and the students can succeed.
“Think about it,” he explained. “How many times have [you] had $15 million dollars going into the kitty so that you’re going to be able to recruit faculty immediately? You’re going to be able to offer scholarships for students who are high performing? So, we want the institution to succeed, if we didn’t, we would just starve it of funding.”
Hampshire College’s lenient academic structure encourages students to design their course studies. The college has been attempting to ramp up admissions and has been facing financial strain since 2019. Both colleges are known for a progressive approach to education.
Jennifer Chrisler, a spokesperson for Hampshire, said New College students had inquired about the transfer program. Hampshire also raised $39 million since starting a fundraising campaign in 2019 and experienced a 75% increase in first-year students.
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