Good luck with accreditation, New College of Florida!

This is how Ron Desantis wants to handle higher education: fire everyone! Kick the faculty and administration out!

He somehow seems to think that a university is just a collection of buildings, rather than people and traditions and a well-established curriculum. So he hires a couple of clueless goons, Chris Rufo and Eddie Speir, and tries to put them in charge of everything.

Somebody should explain to them that their accreditation is not a piece of paper glued to a building. It’s part of a process that involves active engagement with the faculty and administration — you know, all the people that they want to dismiss — and when they go, the institution evaporates. It’s gone. All the currently enrolled students are screwed. The university will have to start over completely from scratch, rebuilding a reputation and a curriculum that was just annihilated.

New College is a public liberal arts college that was founded in 1960. I’m at the University of Minnesota Morris, a public liberal arts college that was founded in 1960. I’m going to have to take this a bit personally.


  1. wzrd1 says

    A new class: what is a fundamental breach of contract and why is it agonizing for those found in fundamental breach in court?
    Faculty and students are welcome.

  2. raven says

    The governing model of DeSantis and the GOP is Stalinism.

    This is a purge of faculty, staff, and administration.
    This is something Joseph Stalin would have done in the USSR.

  3. raven says

    Ron DeSantis plans Florida paramilitary force outside federal … › us-news › dec › ron-des…

    Dec 3, 2021 — ‘No governor should have his own handpicked secret police,’ says former Republican governor Charlie Crist.

    DeSantis tried to set up his own private army outside of Federal control a year ago.

    I’m not sure how far that went but it shows how he thinks.
    He is a fascist who doesn’t want to govern Florida, he wants to rule it.

    The only reason DeSantis would need an army is to rule by force.

  4. mordred says

    Used to work for an idiot who managed to asskiss himself to head of IT in a small company.

    He would occasionally threaten us developers with firing us all and simply rehiring better people. Most of us had to fight to not burst out laughing and went right back to ignoring him.

    There were just so many reasons why this would have been a complete disaster for the company (and wouldn’t even be legally possible around here), and we are talking about less than ten programmers. Now imagine this for a whole damn university! What reality do these assclowns live in and what do you have to do to your brain to get there?

  5. robro says

    I suspect this is more GOP hating on any public spending. If you can’t afford a private college education, then you don’t need or deserve one and don’t ask tax payers to help.

    Next thing up…privatizing the highway system. Toll gates every 10 or 20 miles. It’ll be great.

  6. Doc Bill says

    It’s actually worse than it looks. Why didn’t DeathSantis go after a major university? Because he’s a bully and a coward, a tin-plated dictator with delusions of godhood. (Star Trek reference?) DeathSantis, like his brother from another mother, Texas Gov. “Hot Wheels” Abbott, prey on the weak, the disenfranchised and the suppressed.

    New College is a tiny place, around 700 students. Apparently, from Wikipedia, they are a non-traditional major college where one goes to contemplate philosophy and schools of thought. In my day it would have been the Claremont Colleges in California, Harvey Mudd and the like. New College isn’t a major research institution, it’s just a sleepy, little enclave of scholars minding their own business. DeathSantis is going after them because he can. He can make New College seem like some kind of liberal cancer in the pure body of Florida that he feels obligated to excise. He will manufacture a problem then fix it.

    Whether New College pulls up stakes and folds, or converts into Liberty “University” South remains to be seen, but DeathSantis wins either way. The Woke will be slayed!

  7. weylguy says

    “…the new financial and business model.” He left out “religious and conservative political.”

  8. Brian Lieske says

    DeSantis planned ahead. There’s a Florida-specific accrediting agency that all Florida state schools were required to shift to. They’re already in the tank for this. The only hope is if the Department of Education pulls the accreditation agency’s recognition.
    I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  9. numerobis says

    Snarki: nah. Elon wants so bad to be accepted but he never will be allowed into the RWNJ club no matter how much he demonstrates his fealty to them.

  10. acroyear says

    Targeting small to target big later. New College, I presume, isn’t big on the sports thing. Obv it’ll take a while to finally take down Florida, Florida State, etc, all the big south football and basketball teams.

    Attacking something small is something he can do before he has to campaign for 2024. After that, the precedent is set and he can (if he wins 2024) use his power over the DOE to finish the job nationally.

  11. Pierce R. Butler says

    Doc Bill @ # 8: New College… it’s just a sleepy, little enclave of scholars minding their own business.

    Not exactly: NC represents the counterculture in Florida higher education, with individualized study programs, little testing, and an experimental-minded culture reflected in student lifestyles (probably more bi- and pan-sexuals per head than any other assembly of people for non-orgy purposes). They’ve produced a huge number of significant artists, and leaders in many fields. The alumni are organizing to resist: if the wingnuts “win” here, they will receive ~zero support from grads.

    DeathSentence always aims for Culture War® targets.

  12. Pierce R. Butler says

    FTR: A new Florida law requires all the state colleges and universities “to seek new accreditors every five years and prohibits them from maintaining the same accreditor two cycles in a row.”

    “This was a reaction to punish SACSCOC [current accreditor Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges] for enforcing rules that would keep politicians out of our higher education classrooms and off of our campuses,” [president of United Faculty of Florida Andrew] Gothard said. “It came from a place of bitterness and anger, and that’s why it is not helpful.”

  13. says

    New College is a public liberal arts college that was founded in 1960.

    That’s the problem, it’s a socialist woke arts college. Now if it was a proper private conservative arts college then everything would be fine.

  14. robro says

    specialffrog @ #16 — “Have you driven in Florida? It is already like that.” I know Florida a little too well. I lived in Florida the better of my first 30 years…Jacksonville to be precise, except for 2 years in Sarasota. I learned to drive in Florida. I moved from that shithole to California in 1974…didn’t look back.

  15. robro says

    Apropos of this thread, it’s not just Florida…of course. This article was linked to from an ACM newsletter I receive.

    Gen Z Says School Not Equipping Them with Skills to Survive in Digital World
    Fast Company
    Shalene Gupta
    January 27, 2023

    Dell Technologies surveyed more than 15,000 members of the Generation Z (Gen Z) cohort across 15 countries to find they have little faith in governments or educational systems to provide a better future. About 50% of respondents are willing to accept short-term economic hardship if policymakers can commit to long-term solutions, yet just one-third of those surveyed think current government investments will support a thriving digital economy. Meanwhile, less than half (44%) said school only gave them basic computing skills, with 37% saying it did not equip them with the technology skills they required for their planned careers.

    Of course, it’s not just skills to survive the “digital world” but everything.

  16. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ 21

    …find they have little faith in governments or educational systems to provide a better future.

    Oh? And who, praytell, do the little shits have faith in? Elon Musk? Andrew Tate? The Block Chain?

  17. says

    @ 21
    “they have little faith in governments or educational systems to provide a better future.”

    In other words, Reagan’s dictum from 40+ years ago has had the intended effect, no?

  18. silvrhalide says

    And yet, somehow DeSantis thinks that he can just “terminate… all contracts for faculty, staff and administration and immediately rehiring those faculty, staff and administration…” as if they are all going to cheerfully give up all tenure and salary and start from the bottom AND go to work for the asshole who fired them in the first place.
    Clearly not a guy who has ever been in any actual business.
    Also apparently not a guy who has worked out that there are lawyers everywhere and legal procedures to follow when you shut down an entire business or organization and that this looks like an extremely winnable class action lawsuit against DeSantis, et al. To say nothing of whatever class action lawsuits the students could (WILL) bring against DeSantis for 1) disrupting their education and 2) for deliberately causing loss of ability to transfer credits to another school (no accreditation!), loss of tuition and loss of financial aid (you only get 4 years undergrad assistance for tax credits and the FAFSA), to say nothing of delaying your future career, grad school entrance, etc.

  19. Doc Bill says

    @24 Silver H

    Yet, it happened in my little town. A government petroleum research lab was privatized. Every employee was terminated, but could reapply for their old job, or any job, at 60% of the former pay and no credit for seniority, i.e. vacation days, primarily. Having really nowhere else to go in this rural area, many of them swallowed the bitter medicine if only to provide enough sustaining money to conduct a job search. Within two years so many chemists and staff had quit and moved that they closed it down, under the guise of many excuses.

  20. raven says

    A government petroleum research lab was privatized. Every employee was terminated, but could reapply for their old job, or any job, at 60% of the former pay and no credit for seniority, i.e. vacation days, primarily.

    Something similar happened where I used to live.

    It was an EPA water pollution lab.
    I don’t know that there were mass layoffs and some were rehired.
    It was just privatized to a contractor.

    After a few years of being starved for funding, the whole place just stopped working.
    They got water samples from New Orleans after the big hurricane Katerina.
    They couldn’t analyze them.
    The machines such as GLPCs ( gas-liquid partition chromatography) were broken and needed to be repaired.
    Which didn’t matter because the people who knew how to run the analytical machines had all left.
    They never did analyze any of the samples.

    It barely exists any more and doesn’t do much.

  21. says

    “… and when they go, the institution evaporates. It’s gone. All the currently enrolled students are screwed.”
    Thats the entire object of the exercise.

  22. silvrhalide says

    @25 Everything you have said is the reason class action lawsuits exist and is generally the reason you should join one if the opportunity arises.

    I hear you loud and clear. Out of curiosity, was the government petroleum company state government or federal government? If the answer is “federal” how on earth was the relevant federal union somehow not all over this like white on rice?!
    Asking because my union just sent out a mass mailing update on the union’s lawsuit against the federal government shutdown of 2018-2019–the lawsuit survived discovery, standing, the first level of courts, was denied at the second level and is now going into appeals, where it is generally considered likely to prevail and move on. So I’m a little confused as to exactly how the privatization occurred if the research facility was federal.
    State is another matter–you always exist at the whims of the state legislature and the governor.

    You know who else pulled that “fire and rehire” crap? Eastman Kodak. And where are they now? The Mighty Yellow Giant that dominated film, chemistry and imaging is all but moribund, surviving–if you can call it that–on patent infringement lawsuits. Professional and consumer film was always going to go away but analog medical imaging still has some teeth–analog/film still picks up a lot of stuff that doesn’t show on digital scans. Might not be a hospital’s first choice but would likely be a mainstay second choice. (Hell, every time Christopher Nolan makes a film, Kodak’s current stock price must double.)
    Smooth move, stockholders and board members. You took a blue chip stock and turned it into a lawn dart. Eastman Kodak basically has junk bond status these days.

    College is so expensive that now parents who cosign student loans take out life insurance on their kids. So if the kid dies or can’t finish college for whatever reason (other than academic) before the school loan is paid off, the parents aren’t stuck with a life-destroying loan to pay off.
    You can bet that even if the parents don’t squawk about their kid’s college being deliberately decertified, the bondholders of the insurance policy will shit a brick. And sue. And they can generally afford better lawyers. Wall Street always can.

  23. silvrhalide says

    @26 How many people at the EPA lab simply moved to a different government job after the EPA lab was privatized? Asking because full time permanent federal employees MUST be given an equivalent job elsewhere in the federal government AND they have preferential status in the hiring process. There’s an acronym for it, DTAP I think? I don’t remember the exact acronym but it is literally in every federal application form for a federal job, the part where, when asking name, gender, age, military and/or federal experience, etc., also asks if you meet the transitioning job criteria.

    I could see a case where the federal employees largely left for a different federal job and any federal contractors may have stayed on with the private contractor.

    What I don’t understand is how the private contractor is still in business. Federal contractors are subject to federal oversight. Who is protecting this massive resource and money suck? They seem ripe for trimming by the OMB (Office of Management and Budget) and GAO (Government Accountability Office).

  24. imback says

    @3 raven,
    You know, if Stalin had shaved his mustache, he would have looked a lot like DeSantis. Similar build, face and hair. I wonder if DeSantis will start erasing people from historical photos?

  25. Reginald Selkirk says

    How “conservative” do they want it to be? Will they be teaching flat earth geography?

  26. seachange says

    Evaporation, and punishing the current students, This seems like an acceptable goal of the DeSantis folks in FL that are doing this to me?

  27. robro says

    Akira MacKenzie @ #22 — I think the “little shits” response is understandable given that they’ve watched as governments around the world have closed opportunities for them as they have become increasingly operated solely for the rich. They don’t see much hope that governments will really work for them. Frankly, I don’t either. It’s difficult to not despair. I don’t think this means they find Elon or other con men attractive, although some probably do. In any case, I’m not sure how you made that leap.

  28. F.O. says

    Reminds me of Philosophy Tube throwing money at a piece of wood yelling “BECOME A CHAIR!!!”

    There is too much people with too much money who believe that money, rather than people, actually does the work.