New College of Florida’s Controversial Move: The Decision to Drop Gender Studies Program

New College of Florida to drop gender studies. New College of Florida’s 30-year-old gender studies program was rejected 7-3. College studies may suffer. This decision highlighted the evolution of liberal arts education due to Trustee Christopher Rufo’s proposal to close the school.

New College teaches gender studies separately from anthropology, biology, and sociology, but they are related. The board’s legal counsel, Bill Galvano, said the vote was the first step in reviewing the program’s teachers’ contract with the Board of Governors. He said the voting would begin it.

Gender studies has united global students since 1995. Eight gender studies majors and numerous others enroll in gender-eligible classes annually. This would impact 2024 class instruction.

Rufo and other board members, appointed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, are pursuing this move. The college aligns with conservative schools like Hillsdale College in Michigan as part of their campaign. Changes include Richard Corcoran’s temporary presidency and discontinuing the institution’s diversity, equity, and inclusion endeavor. Corcoran developed the college’s first sports program to attract students.

Rufo’s decision to cut the gender studies program showed his belief that it clashed with the school’s liberal arts mission. He stressed the need to make tough decisions, such as cutting programs that don’t align with academic goals at elite schools.

New College of Florida's Controversial Move The Decision to Drop Gender Studies Program (2)
image: New College of Florida

Also read:

Trustee Amy Reid, who heads the gender studies school, strongly disputed the charges. She added that many US colleges have gender studies programs and that it’s a longstanding part of the liberal arts.

Reid and Student Trustee Grace Keenan questioned Rufo’s motion, changing the topic. They wanted to finish the program quickly to avoid government violations. Reid suggested some people not participate in decision-making.

The conversation showed the instability of academic programs when business priorities change. I worry about Florida higher education without a long-term gender studies agenda at New College.
Reid discussed the major issues with this shift. She emphasized that balance extends beyond gender studies and is integral to education. New College is growing academically. Intellectual currents and a desire for straightness shape it