You start wearing blue and brown:
The whirlwind unleashed by Gov. Ron DeSantis that rapidly is reshaping New College of Florida picked up speed Tuesday with the president fired amid a broad leadership overhaul that capped a momentous few hours for the Sarasota school.
A slate of new board members installed by DeSantis earlier this month replaced college President Patricia Okker with former GOP House speaker and education commissioner Richard Corcoran, installed a DeSantis appointee as the new board chair, moved to hire a former Republican lawmaker as the school’s new general counsel and began the process of abolishing programs aimed at increasing diversity, equity and inclusion on campus, turbo charging a dramatic conservative culture shift.
Corcoran has been an eager participant in the governor’s education culture war battles, and soon will take the lead in his experiment in overhauling a public university to match his conservative approach to higher education. Corcoran can’t takeover as interim president until March, so a college administrator will serve in the role until then.
Fighting back tears, an emotional Okker said she couldn’t go along with “this new mandate where this is a hostile takeover and a dramatic change in the mission.” Members of the audience – some in tears themselves – urged her to fight for her job. Okker apologized for disappointing them.
“There is a new mandate for this college and I have been informed that the plan includes the termination of my employment as president, that is my understanding,” she said during the meeting.
The crowd booed.
It wasn’t clear if a majority of the board was prepared to fire Okker if she expressed interest in keeping the job. Some new board members said they didn’t know about a plan to fire her.
“Whose plan?” said Ryan Anderson, a new board member who was appointed by the Florida Board of Governors last week, adding: “I was not aware of any plan.”
Among those eager to have a new president was Christopher Rufo, who was appointed by DeSantis and joined him at a press conference in Bradenton before the board meeting.
When you can’t borrow another buck from the bank or buy another case of booze, you bust the joint out. You light a match.
Stay tuned for part 33 of the TWITTER FILES, in which Matt Taibbi reveals the biggest threat to free speech in America today — an algorithm that cannot distinguish between MAGA trolls and Russian bots imitating MAGA trolls with 100% accuracy.