Ron DeSantis compares New College to a ‘commune’
Image via EOG/@GovRonDeSantis

Desantis homeschool speech
'It was left of the left.'

Florida’s Governor continues to drop rhetorical bombs on the state’s public liberal arts college.

In comments made in Orlando to the Florida Parent-Educators Association Florida Homeschool Convention, Ron DeSantis railed against New College of Florida as being a “commune” prior to a conservative takeover at his behest.

“We have a small liberal arts college in Sarasota called New College. I didn’t know much about it. Not a lot of people in Florida knew much about it. It was almost like a commune. It was left of the left, all about ideology, critical race theory, gender theory, all this other stuff,” DeSantis contended.

The Governor added that the school was supposed to be “the top college in Florida, but it wasn’t fulfilling that function though,” justifying his decisions to “put people on the board there that are going to right the ship.”

“I appointed seven conservative members to the board of trustees,” DeSantis said, leaving out the fact that the supermajority Republican Senate refused to confirm one of them, in a rare rebuke of the executive branch.

“They came in, they relieved the President of her duties. They put in a conservative President,” DeSantis said, referring to Richard Corcoran, whose sizable $699,000 salary translates to $1,000 per student.

DeSantis noted that the board “eliminated (diversity, equity and inclusion) and CRT at the university and they reformulated the mission statement to say that New College would be the top publicly funded classical liberal arts college in America, similar (to) Hillsdale College and some of these other places.”

The Governor’s framing of the college as a “commune” is new, but the school and his efforts to revamp the liberal campus culture have been a talking point all year, including at Hillsdale College where he pledged to turn it into a “little Hillsdale.”

“So we’re going to be like a little Hillsdale, maybe, down in Florida,” DeSantis told a crowd in Michigan. “Can you imagine how good that would be?”

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Tom

    May 26, 2023 at 11:51 am

    Still going after the same stupid crap that nobody cares about. I wonder when he’ll pivot to actual problems and actual solutions?

    • Dont Say FLA

      May 26, 2023 at 1:05 pm

      He can’t pivot to actual solutions. He has no experience solving anything without a GOP super majority which does not, and will never exist nationally. The little man lacks any real political experience. He truly is Little Trump. It’d be Trump’s first term all over again: on the job training that does not succeed in training the untrainable.

  • Michael K

    May 26, 2023 at 4:38 pm

    Big man Ron can destroy a liberal arts college (artsy, creative) that generations of accomplished graduates have revered. All for a stupid talking point that no one really cares about.

    Why is he so terrified of smart, creative young people?

    • WhatNow

      May 26, 2023 at 9:41 pm

      – Because he’s never had a truly creative thought or idea of his own, so thinks such folks to be unpredictable and therefore scary and thus to him potentially threatening. Not exactly what you’d call a normal, well adjusted person.

  • May June

    May 26, 2023 at 5:40 pm

    Governor DeSantis confessed to have known little about New College, and after his declarations it is obvious that he now knows even less.
    Cheap rhetoric cheapens politics.

    • Get real lady

      June 1, 2023 at 6:42 pm

      What kind of drugs are you on, have you read nothing of the declining enrollment and how far financially upside down they were? Dorms with elevators that didn’t work; they had to evacuate one dorm and triple up rooms due to maintenance issues. Faculty woke as hell and terrible job placement; the only “successful” ones go into academia because it’s the only place they’re employable.

      The “This is Fine” Dog in Fire meme is for people like you.

      • Daniel Phillips

        June 1, 2023 at 8:53 pm

        Elevators? Clearly you know loads about New College. I imagine you’ve not encountered many New College graduates, although, to be fair, some of them end up teaching in Middle School.

  • Michael A. Armstrong

    May 26, 2023 at 6:55 pm

    Gov. DeSantis seems confused about New College’s mission statement. Here it is from the website:

    “New College of Florida prepares intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement. It offers a liberal arts education of the highest quality in the context of a small, residential public honors college with a distinctive academic program which develops the student’s intellectual and personal potential as fully as possible; encourages the discovery of new knowledge and values while providing opportunities to acquire established knowledge and values; and fosters the individual’s effective relationship with society.”

    • Deborah Howard

      May 27, 2023 at 1:20 pm

      New College of Florida is a top producer of Fulbright recipients. Since 1968, 86 New College students have received Fulbright Student awards to study, do research, or teach in over 36 countries, with more than 34 grants in the last five years. New College is also the nation’s top public liberal arts college for producing the highest percentage of undergraduates who go on to earn Ph.Ds in science and engineering.

  • Cheryl Soehl

    May 26, 2023 at 8:20 pm

    As a graduate of the second charter class at New College, it is clear to me that DeSantis has no understanding of the value of an independent inquiry based education and certainly no conception of the manifold contributions of New College graduates to scientific knowledge and the arts. His focused effort to destroy my alma mater speaks to his ignorance and narcissistic pursuit of political power at the expense of a small community of scholars who have done nothing to deserve his animosity. His hateful campaign reflects very badly on his humanity and hints that his plans for our country are to be feared by majority and minority citizens alike. He is letting us know who he is, and we should pay close attention.

    • SteveHC

      May 26, 2023 at 9:44 pm

      – Agreed 110%.

    • Deborah Howard

      May 27, 2023 at 1:10 pm

      As a 1981 graduate of New College who has a law degree and runs a national nonprofit, I wholeheartedly agree!

  • May June

    May 27, 2023 at 7:48 am

    Ronnie, thanks to the chaos that you and your politically appointed Trustees created in January, Admissions at New College is probably still considering applications for the entering class this Fall.
    Regardless of your previous degrees (did you sleepwalk through those college years?) you are clearly in dire need of a serious intellectual and moral education. Consider developing a better heart and mind at New College.
    As a wise philosopher said, the unexamined (and pandering) life is not worth living.

    • Deborah Howard

      May 27, 2023 at 1:15 pm

      DeSantis may have a good education, but he is clearly pandering to those who barely finished high school. I can tell from their comments on social media that they did not attend college.

  • Glenn Whitehouse

    May 27, 2023 at 8:28 am

    My wife and I went to New College, as did our son more recently. Words cannot express how inaccurate the Governor’s characterization of the school is. If New College is “all about ideology,” then I can’t explain how all that Plato and Aristotle got onto my bookshelf, or how my son walked out of a New College class with Paradise Lost having become his favorite book. The truth is that although does not use an explicit “great books” curriculum very few colleges do – New College students have always been taught the classics, far more than students at most universities.

    The Governor berates New College as “left of the left,” but the truth is that it’s the Governor and his administration who are trying to make higher education all about partisan politics. “I installed a conservative President.” What does “conservative” even mean for a college president? Last time I checked the presidency of a college is not an elected office, and I’ve never seen an R or D noted next to a higher ed administrator’s name. Until now with New College President Corcoran that is.

    The Governor and the NCF Board still don’t know much about New College. The picture of the school they are trying to sell to the public was concocted by playing connect the dots between conservative talking points about higher education, and bears little if any resemblance to the actual school that has served Florida well for 50 years.

  • A former employee of the New College Foundation

    May 27, 2023 at 10:45 am

    Seeing as Ron DeSantis never set foot on campus until the signing of the bill last week, I don’t think he knows an actual thing about the college other than his ill-informed lackeys told him…who also never bothered to come to campus.

    • Deborah Howard

      May 27, 2023 at 1:14 pm

      He signed his anti DEI bill without much notice to disrupt the faculty and students during finals. He sullied the Music Room of College Hall where I used to perform cello and flute. I commend the students organizing a last minute protest during finals. It was disgusting that he berated them for not having a large enough turnout and that Rufo mockingly blew kisses to the protesters while having to be protected by police.

  • John Lentini

    May 27, 2023 at 5:01 pm

    DeSantis has no idea. He is conflating “community” with “commune,” which Fascists are wont to do. He envisions a “mission-aligned” student body, meaning a group of home-schooled fundamentalists with baseball bats. One of his new Trustees, Bauerlein, values a “fundamental commitment to sameness, commonness, and stability,” How boring!
    My wife and I graduated from New 50 years ago, and our son graduated in 2007. We are all heartbroken.

    • Deborah Howard

      May 27, 2023 at 5:15 pm

      “Home-schooled fundamentalists with baseball bats.” I love this! I wonder how many they have enrolled so far?

  • Daniel Phillips

    May 27, 2023 at 5:37 pm

    Ron DeSantis displays ignorance on a scale that is truly astounding in a governor, even for a Red state.

    • Van

      June 5, 2023 at 6:36 pm


  • Van

    June 5, 2023 at 6:38 pm


Comments are closed.


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