UPDATE: This story has been updated to include a statement from The New College of Florida (NCF).
The New College of Florida (NCF) announced on Monday that an official who sparred with newly appointed conservative trustees earlier this year stepped down from her position, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported.
Provost Suzanne Sherman stepped down from her position after serving in the role since 2020, according to the college website. Sherman clashed with Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis-appointed trustees Christopher Rufo and Eddie Speir when they refused to cancel a Jan. 25 town hall meeting after receiving a death threat, and Rufo told reporters before the meeting that the board would reconsider college leadership because what he saw “demonstrated here was cowardice, not leadership,”according to the Herald-Tribune. (RELATED: DeSantis-Appointed College Trustee Clashes With Officials Over Prayer)
DeSantis appointed six new members to the Board of Trustees in January which tipped the scale to a conservative majority. The board members have since implemented several reforms in an attempt to reframe the institution around a classic, honors’ college education.
The board members voted to terminate former NCF President Patricia Okker during its first meeting on Jan. 31 in favor of former Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, who currently is serving in the interim position. It then voted on Feb. 28 to abolish its Office of Outreach and Inclusive Excellence, which was tasked with promoting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives on campus, as well as to eliminate use of diversity statements as a hiring standard.
Corcoran fired Yoleidy Rosario-Hernandez, NCF’s chief diversity officer, earlier this month, according to the Herald-Tribune. The decision came after the board decided that the four Office of Outreach and Inclusive Excellence employees would be given different positions.
New College of Florida has fired its former DEI director, Yoleidy Rosario-Hernandez (“ze/zir”), after abolishing her department. Rosario-Hernandez lashed out at me in the Washington Post, but I wish her well and hope she uses the opportunity to develop useful skills. pic.twitter.com/qd6fdr7OyV
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) March 11, 2023
Rosario-Hernandez, who identifies as “trans fluid” and uses ze/zir/zirs pronouns, reportedly said the decision was discriminatory.
Brad Thiessen, a NCF administrator who served as interim President before Corcoran, will temporarily replace Sherman, the Herald-Tribune reported.
“New College is once again appreciative of Dr. Thiessen’s willingness to serve the college in this new capacity,” Corcoran said in a university statement sent to the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Brad’s background and experience are unparalleled and his commitment to New College and its future is second to none.”
NCF Board of Trustees did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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