In the wake of the controversial takeover of New College of Florida by allies of Governor Ron DeSantis, attorneys representing the college have threatened to sue a group of former faculty members and students who have formed an alternative online institute called “Alt New College.” The institute aims to offer free and subsidized courses while preserving the original educational philosophy of the school. It has gained support from former New College provosts, Bard College, and PEN America. However, New College’s attorneys argue that Alt New College may be violating the school’s trademark and causing confusion. This article sheds light on the ongoing battle between the conservative forces behind the takeover and those fighting to protect the college’s progressive values and academic freedom.
Attorneys threaten to sue ‘alternate’ school
Attorneys representing New College of Florida, a traditionally progressive public liberal arts college, have issued a threat to sue a group of former faculty members and students who have formed an alternative online institute called “Alt New College.” This development comes after allies of Governor Ron DeSantis took over the original New College as part of what he has called his “war on woke” campaign. The attorneys claim that Alt New College may be violating the school’s trademark and causing confusion among the public. They have demanded that Alt New College cease using the “New College” name, alleging that it has caused irreparable harm to the original institution.
Formation of Alt New College
In response to the takeover of New College of Florida, a group of former faculty members and students joined forces to create Alt New College. The primary goal of this online institute is to offer free and subsidized courses while preserving the educational philosophy and values that were at the core of the original New College. Alt New College aims to provide an alternative educational experience, independent of the changes imposed by the new leadership. They emphasize their mission to protect other communities that may face similar attacks on public education across the country.
Mission of Alt New College
Alt New College’s mission is twofold. Firstly, it seeks to continue offering courses that the original New College of Florida provided, maintaining a focus on progressive, inclusive, and interdisciplinary education. Alt New College aims to safeguard the values of critical thinking, intellectual exploration, and social justice that have been fundamental to the New College experience. Secondly, Alt New College strives to advocate for the protection and promotion of public education as a cornerstone of democracy. By creating an online institute, they hope to extend their reach and positively impact other communities facing similar challenges in higher education.
Supporters of Alt New College
Alt New College has garnered support from notable individuals and organizations within the education and free expression advocacy fields. Former New College of Florida provosts, Bard College in New York, and PEN America, a prominent free expression advocacy group, have voiced their support for Alt New College. These endorsements aim to highlight the importance of preserving the original educational values and principles during a time of significant change and ideological shifts.
New College attorneys claim trademark violation
Attorneys representing New College of Florida argue that Alt New College may be infringing upon the original school’s trademark and causing confusion among the public. The use of the name “New College” by Alt New College, even though it is intended to indicate a continuation of the original institution’s mission, is viewed as potentially misleading. The attorneys contend that this could harm the reputation and standing of New College of Florida. By demanding that Alt New College cease using the name, the attorneys seek to protect the integrity of their client’s brand and prevent further damage.
Demand to stop using ‘New College’ name
As part of their efforts to protect the reputation and perceived ownership of the “New College” name, attorneys representing New College of Florida have formally demanded that Alt New College cease using the name. The demand asserts that Alt New College’s use of the name has already caused and will continue to cause damage and irreparable harm to the original institution. The letter from New College’s attorneys highlights their concern that Alt New College’s existence may confuse the public and potentially diminish the reputation and identity of the original New College of Florida.
Damage and irreparable harm to New College
New College of Florida’s attorneys argue that Alt New College’s use of the “New College” name has caused and will cause significant damage and irreparable harm to the original institution. This harm is perceived to arise due to confusion among the public regarding the relationship between the two entities. The attorneys highlight the potential negative impact on New College’s reputation, which they claim could be compromised by the existence of an alternative institution using a similar name. The concern over damage and irreparable harm underscores the attorneys’ determination to protect the integrity and standing of New College of Florida.
Background on New College and DeSantis
New College of Florida has become the focal point of Governor Ron DeSantis’ campaign against what he perceives as left-leaning “woke” indoctrination on college campuses. In an effort to implement his agenda, DeSantis has made several notable changes at New College. These include the firing of the school’s president and the elimination of the diversity, equity, and inclusion office. Additionally, DeSantis has supported the denial of tenure to five professors, a move that has sparked concerns about academic freedom. The cumulative effect of these changes has led to a loss of faculty members and students and captured national attention as a conservative takeover within higher education.
DeSantis’ campaign against ‘woke’ indoctrination
Governor Ron DeSantis has made combating what he perceives as left-leaning “woke” indoctrination in higher education a key aspect of his political agenda. He believes that certain ideologies being promoted on college campuses undermine the principles of intellectual diversity and critical thinking. The takeover of New College of Florida by DeSantis’ allies forms a significant part of this larger campaign. By exerting influence over New College, DeSantis aims to address what he sees as ideological biases in higher education and reshape it according to his vision of a more balanced and conservative learning environment.
Firing of New College president
As part of the changes initiated by Governor DeSantis’ allies, the president of New College of Florida was fired and replaced by former state House Speaker Richard Corcoran as interim president. This decision was a crucial step in the conservative takeover of the institution. The firing of the president brought to the forefront the significant changes being imposed on New College and drew attention from both supporters and critics alike. This action was seen as a significant departure from the past practices and direction of the college, leading to concerns about the preservation of the school’s values and academic independence.
Elimination of diversity, equity, and inclusion office
Another notable change implemented by DeSantis’ allies was the elimination of the diversity, equity, and inclusion office at New College of Florida. This decision sparked controversy and debates surrounding the importance of promoting inclusivity and addressing systemic inequities within higher education. Critics viewed this move as an erosion of the institution’s commitment to social justice and equality. The elimination of the diversity, equity, and inclusion office further solidified New College’s reputation as a battleground for ideological struggles taking place within higher education.
Denial of tenure to five professors
One of the most contentious actions taken by the new leadership at New College of Florida was the denial of tenure to five professors. This decision was met with widespread criticism and sparked concerns about academic freedom and the ability of scholars to freely pursue their research and teaching. Critics argued that the denial of tenure to these professors was politically motivated and aimed at stifling dissenting voices within the institution. The denial of tenure drew attention to the potential consequences of ideological changes within higher education and raised concerns about the future of academic independence at New College.
Loss of faculty members and students
The changes and controversies at New College of Florida, resulting from the conservative takeover, have had a profound impact on the institution’s faculty and student body. More than a third of the school’s faculty members have chosen to leave following the changes, resulting in a significant loss of experienced educators. The departure of faculty members raises concerns about the institutional knowledge and continuity of the original New College’s educational philosophy. Additionally, numerous students have transferred out of the college, reflecting their dissatisfaction with the ideological shifts and changes in the school’s direction.
National attention on conservative takeover
The conservative takeover of New College of Florida has attracted national attention and sparked debates about the future of higher education, ideological influences, and academic freedom. The actions taken by Governor DeSantis’ allies, such as the firing of the college’s president, the elimination of the diversity, equity, and inclusion office, and the denial of tenure to five professors, have drawn scrutiny from various stakeholders. The attention from both supporters and critics underscores the significance of New College as a battleground for ideological struggles within the realm of higher education, highlighting broader issues surrounding education, politics, and democracy.