Search committee chosen to stack votes
The search committee to hire New College’s next president has been announced, but it does not include a representative of the student government.
It has been the norm for student government representatives to serve on Florida college presidential search committees. Student government reps served on recent presidential search committees at Florida State University, the University of Florida and the University of Central Florida.
Debra Jenks, the chair of the New College trustees board, did appoint a student to the search committee but that individual is not involved in student government. He is an intern for Sarasota Republican state Sen. Joe Gruters.
This is another lost opportunity for the college’s leadership to rebuild trust with the campus and with donors, who are continuing to withhold funds. It is a blatant attempt to stack the committee’s votes to guarantee that Interim President Richard Corcoran, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ close ally, is nominated by the search committee.
This sullies the search process and creates a predetermined political coronation rather than a sincere, meritocratic effort to find the best leader for New College.
Brian Cody, Chicago, Illinois
Cody, a New College alum, served as a board trustee from 2004 to 2005. He is currently a member of the Novo Collegian Alliance, but the views in this letter are his own.
Are sports the solution at New College?
In light of the fact that college sports programs are typically loss leaders, it seems odd that the New College of Florida board is hiring for various sports program directors, including baseball, soccer and basketball.
This seems especially odd since there are no facilities on campus: no gym, no stadium, not even practice fields for these activities.
Students are not asking for sports programs – and if they did want sports, such activities are certainly available at other colleges in Florida.
Also somewhat incongruously, the current interim president is talking about having “Greek life” off campus on 58th Street, also not something any students have requested.
Will fraternities, sororities and sports culture draw a higher-caliber student base? Or is this another graft to “lease” facilities owned by another trustee, thereby continuing the self-dealing that has been rampant since Gov. Ron DeSantis replaced solid education-centered trustees with his lackeys?
Accountability and transparency should be demanded in spending the $15 million in taxpayer funds that New College has received.
Beth Mayberry, North Port
School Board should have backed protesters
I am writing because I am disgusted with the handling by the Sarasota County School Board of the Walkout 2 Learn protest at Pine View School on April 21.
Both of my children were inspired to exercise their First Amendment rights to protest Gov. Ron DeSantis and his policies, which are an affront to them on a very personal level.
Instead of fostering a sense of being valued for their feelings, they were surrounded by fearmongering members of the School Board and police. These members were spending their very important time ensuring that the administrators at Pine View fully enforced consequences to any students who participated in the walkout.
Although I realize that schools can penalize students for missing class, a right to peacefully protest is vital to our American history and any hope for our future.
We already have a governor who is willing to silence his dissenters with any use of power he can wield. Do we really want to perpetuate this adolescent response with our children?Sara Wollard, Sarasota
LGBTQ community isn’t going anywhere
I’m a 72-year-old out gay man, and I’ve been with my husband for 34 years. In junior high school, at age 13, my crushes were on young male movie stars and male classmates. I already knew I was gay, and no one tried to groom me or push me in the direction of being gay.
The Gov. Ron DeSantis-fueled hysteria in Florida about sexual identity and transgender issues is horribly misguided and not based on fact. DeSantis would like for Florida’s large LGBTQ community to become invisible, but those of us in the community aren’t going to go along with that as we’ve fought hard for our rights.
Even if our community became invisible, homosexuality isn’t magically going to disappear from Florida’s landscape. It’s been around as far back as recorded history goes.
So to anyone out there who has children, I would like to advise you that if your child is going to be gay or transgender, you’re not going to be able to stop them from being their true self. They will inevitably face some obstacles and will need your love and support, not your condemnation.
Dan M. Warren, Sarasota