New College of Florida faculty members voted to censure the Board of Trustees this week, accusing them of failing to fulfill their fiduciary duties, The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported.
A letter from New College faculty to President Richard Corcoran argued that the board has failed in its fiduciary duties by not “caring for the institution’s reputation and for student, faculty, and staff well-being” and by “endangering the College’s ability to fulfill its mission" in adequately preparing students.
The letter cites a number of concerns—including potential conflicts of interest by some trustees—as well as unprofessional behavior by board members, whom faculty accuse of disparaging students and employees on social media and of having a “lack of respect for” taxpayers.
A spokesperson for NCF told the Herald-Tribune that the concerns laid out in the censure letter were false and the vote was driven by “fear of the unknown.” The college statement added that faculty will soon align with leadership once they see how NCF’s new direction will improve its stability.
According to the newspaper, 80 percent of NCF faculty voted in favor of the censure.
The vote comes amid months of conflict at NCF, where a swath of new trustees appointed by Republican governor Ron DeSantis has forced change on the small liberal arts college, seeking to fulfill his mandate to create a facsimile of the private, conservative Hillsdale College in Michigan. Since late January, trustees have voted to oust NCF’s president and replace her with DeSantis ally Corcoran, a former Republican lawmaker; denied tenure to five faculty members; and voted to close the college’s diversity, equity and inclusion office, among other actions.