New College board trustee wants to find new President, fire all faculty
Eddie Speir.

new-college-of-florida speir
Eddie Speir wants the Sarasota institution to begin a full overhaul of its curriculum.

One of New College of Florida’s trustees plans Tuesday to suggest replacing the school’s President and firing all faculty.

Eddie Speir, one of six new trustees appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis to the New College board this month, wrote a blog post about his intentions for his first trustee meeting. Among his first orders of business is beginning a search for a new college President and demoting Dr. Patricia Okker, the school’s leader since January 2022, to interim President.

But he doesn’t want the changes to stop with a new President. He also wants to dismiss and replace the General Counsel for the school, and then shift into a wholesale change in personnel.

“I move that we as a board approve a letter to the new counsel of this board to ask for a legal opinion regarding our ability to declare a financial emergency and employ a zero-based budgeting policy of terminating all contracts for faculty, staff and administration and immediately rehiring those faculty, staff and administration who fit in the new financial and business model,” Speir wrote.

The board of trustees meets Tuesday, Jan. 31, at 3 p.m. for the first time since a majority of its slots were filled with new appointments. In addition to the Governor’s nominees, the State University System’s Board of Governors last week appointed Ryan Anderson, the head of a conservative think tank, to the 13-member board.

Many of the new trustees hail from outside of Florida and hold credentials with politically conservative movements, including Anderson and Manhattan Institute senior fellow Christopher Rufo.

Speir, though, holds one of the spots reserved by state statute for residents of Manatee County. He’s the co-founder of Inspiration Academy, a private faith-based school in Bradenton.

In his blog post, Speir complains there is no place on Tuesday’s meeting agenda for new business, though there is a heading for other business.

That already includes discussion of Okker’s employment and of changing the General Counsel. It also includes the election of a new Chair and Vice Chair. Mary Ruiz, a New College graduate and a trustee since 2011, currently serves as Chair.

Speir in his blog post asks for an expert on Robert’s Rules of Order to contact him and discuss how to ensure his priorities are discussed.

“My concern is that Chair Ruiz will not resign and/or delay resignation.  Thereby halting and/or delaying the necessary clarity that NCF needs as soon as possible,” he wrote.

He voiced an urgency for rapid change at New College.

“My goal is to provide clarity and encourage us to confront the brutal facts while holding two apparent contradicting ideas in our heads and seek a deeper truth,” he wrote. “And to never lose hope that we will all make it through this. In fact, I believe in the Resiliency Challenge was appropriately selected as a theme for this year and this process should be viewed as an opportunity to develop resiliency.”

After declaring a financial emergency at the college, Speir said new trustees need to play a major role in overhauling the school. He wants a curriculum review committee formed that reports to trustees.

Speir then discussed at length his concerns about “wokeness” on campus. While he does not want New College to reject all aspects of that, he wants any dogmatic elements eliminated on campus.

“These aspects should not be incorporated into a curriculum, nor supported through school sponsored programs or activities,” he wrote. “One example of a dogmatic expression of wokeness is the assertion that America and its institutions are systemically racist and must be torn down.”

He makes clear he wants the board of trustees to be perpetually involved in changes.

“I move that we as a board approve a letter to the new counsel of this board to ask for a legal opinion regarding Florida’s Sunshine Laws and our ability to conduct meetings in an on-going manner in an open room on the internet to exchange documents in real time between committee members to become more iterative as a board and its various committees in as public and transparent manner possible,” he wrote.

He also said he wants to remove USA TODAY as a list of “approved media outlets” for the school, though it’s unclear what such a designation entails, until the national media company commits to “adhere to its own policies.”

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Ty Sheridan

    January 30, 2023 at 9:49 am

    Let the clown show commence. Inspiration Academy is a local joke so whatever comes from the pie hole of this dim wit should be taken with a heavy grains of salt. He needs a Roberts expert to make sure he’s heard? That rushing sound you hear is the faculty and students fleeing the DeSantis Gestapo takeover. I hope New College survives even if the only students are campus are the Kyle Rittenhouses of the world.

  • Mac Wiseman

    January 30, 2023 at 11:07 am

    Leftist heads literally exploding across the fruited plain. Professors in unison pulling pulling their little goatee beards and screaming in their best fake Europian/Gretta Thunberg accents; “How Dare They to even think about coming after us”?
    Hey lets hope this catches on nation-wide and world-wide.

    • your mom

      January 30, 2023 at 5:16 pm

      well, luckily most of the nation is not as backwards as Florida

    • Erik

      January 30, 2023 at 10:02 pm

      Brain dead maga deplorables are turning our education system into right-wing indoctrination camps.from grade school through college Disgusting.

    • Robert (Rob) Michaels

      January 30, 2023 at 11:58 pm

      Mac Wiseman Nazi facilitator.

    • Scott Schindler

      January 31, 2023 at 10:16 am

      And then all the students leave and Republicans celebrate a new uneducated theocracy with mandated church and forced pregnancies. Oh wait this is literally a tv show Florida is living. Young people, get out!!

    • Victoria

      January 31, 2023 at 11:55 am

      You can’t spell “European” and you can’t use apostrophes or hyphens properly. Can’t proofread. A great comment on colleges.

    • Sat

      February 1, 2023 at 12:53 pm

      How censorial of you. If you know how to use a dictionary, you can look up the word “censorial.”

  • Christopher M. Kennard

    January 30, 2023 at 12:27 pm

    New College has long been regarded as being unique . . . few institutions of higher learning ever engaged their top quality students as quickly, productively or as well as the faulty and staff of New College seemed to excel in doing for decades.

    This is a sad ending . . . unless a strong, universal cry out to save New College is made across the State of Florida and centers of academia throughout the USA by past and present faculty and students alike!

  • Mike

    January 30, 2023 at 12:46 pm

    83% of graduates employed or in grad school within 4 months of graduation

    #1 in the nation for public college in percent of graduates who earn PhD in all disciplines and science and engineering.

    #11 percentage that earn phDs in the NATION overall (yes including Ivy League Schools!)

    1 in 50 schools selected by Princeton Review “Colleges that Create Futures”



    Princeton Review “Best Value College”

    $55,000 median salary of graduates within 5 years

    $106,3000 median salary with 10 years of graduation.

  • wendy

    January 30, 2023 at 2:58 pm

    I hope that the staff, faculty and mostly students of New College make this the call it is. We need this kind of “think tank” rather than what is in the wind. The winds are changing and it ain’t good!

  • Victoria

    January 30, 2023 at 6:13 pm

    DeSantis is bringing into Florida a group of bigoted, narrow-minded, and downright weird people to staff his boards and commissions. Make sure he never gets a shot at messing up the federal government.

  • MH/Duval

    January 31, 2023 at 7:43 am

    Spier is the loose cannon DeSantis seems to require — in the mold of Randy Fine and Richard Corcoran but mouthier. The idea of having ongoing, online board meetings is totalitarian.

    Thanks to Mike above for the stats.

  • Sally

    January 31, 2023 at 9:40 am

    With an enrollment of less than 700 and the most expensive tax payer funded college in Florida. New College should be shut down–it’s failing tax payers–only serving elitiest.
    Governor DeSantis was elected with a huge majority of votes. He is saving New College with these new board members. Love our Governor and finding our way back to the Constitution!!

    • Scott Schindler

      January 31, 2023 at 10:20 am

      Florida is becoming the Florida of our country.

      Race to the bottom has a clear winner if Texas doesn’t bring back slavery.

      • Victoria

        January 31, 2023 at 11:53 am

        Kari Lake working out of her garage may save Florida from being the worst.

        • Sat

          February 1, 2023 at 1:00 pm

          You’re so funny about that robot!

    • cassandra

      January 31, 2023 at 8:51 pm

      This has nothing to do with the Constitution. BTW, *YOU* were not even in the Constitution!

      Desantis graduated from two ELITE NORTHEASTERN WOKE IVY LEAGUE COLLEGES. But he wants your kid in Sunday school all week! Why is your child not allowed to learn. Stay stupid Sal!

    • Sat

      February 1, 2023 at 12:58 pm

      Maybe you shouldn’t post your free thoughts on the internet since you don’t want free thought in colleges and university. And, you haven’t read the Constitution, so please remove your exclamation points.

  • Eric Hijo

    January 31, 2023 at 4:55 pm

    Why is Ron Deathsatan bringing out of state Globalists of unknown origin to Florida and putting them in positions of power? Perhaps only Trump can save us from this ungrateful buffoon who is up to very strange and very scary things.

  • TD

    January 31, 2023 at 8:01 pm

    This Speir guy revealed himself at the BOT meeting today to be an absolute IDIOT who could well tank this whole endeavor.

  • Hal

    February 2, 2023 at 9:42 am

    All the academics have been alerted, their playbook has been challenged and they are scared.

Comments are closed.


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