DeSantis-Backed College Trustees Push Creation Of Freedom Institute To Challenge Cancel Culture

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DeSantis-Backed College Trustees Push Creation Of Freedom Institute To Challenge Cancel Culture


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The Board of Trustees at the New College of Florida submitted a $2 million budget request to the state legislature Thursday in order to establish a “Freedom Institute” that will seek to combat “cancel culture” in higher education.

The trustees, a majority of whom were appointed by Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, say that the new institute will allow for the expression of dissenting views, according to the board’s July 6 meeting agenda, which outlines the proposal for the institute. The institute will also honor a commitment to upholding the right to free speech and will prompt civil engagement.

“The New College Freedom Institute seeks to promote tolerance of opposing views and a willingness to engage such views in civil discourse. At the human level, such tolerance is a necessary pre-condition for developing effective interpersonal relationships. At a social level, such tolerance is a necessary component for a healthy democratic nation,” the agenda read.

The institute will “champion tolerance of civil discourse” by hiring faculty who will educate students on these core principles. It will also award individuals who have previously faced censorship, according to the outline of the proposal. The New College Freedom Institute will “recognize and award those who have suffered from and persevered through censorship that sought to limit freedom of thought and expression,” the proposal read.

The budget request to fund the institute is for the 2024-2025 legislative session and would not be approved or denied until then, according to the outline of the proposal. The New College of Florida has been a target of DeSantis’ as he had sought to implement a conservative takeover of the school by appointing six new trustees to its board and hiring a new president.

DeSantis says that the school has been struggling due to its focus on teaching critical race theory and other left-leaning ideologies.

The plan to create the institute comes on the heels of other initiatives led by DeSantis that target higher education reform in Florida. In May, DeSantis signed legislation to prohibit state and federal funds from being used at public universities for diversity, equity and inclusion programs. DeSantis also signed legislation in May to ban public institutions in the state from requiring employees to take political identity tests.

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All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

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