Thursday of last week New College of Florida interim President Richard Corcoran announced that the school had shattered its "all-time record for enrollment."
Founded in 1960, New College is the smallest in the Florida public university system, with fewer than 700 in total enrollment.
However, Corcoran anticipated more than 300 in new enrollees.
"Great news we have broken the all-time record enrollment. As of today, we’re sitting around 294. We’re clearly going across 300. It’s fantastic," Corcoran said.
He attributed the boost in enrollment to the addition of more extracurricular activities, plus additional funding the school received from the legislature.
"Those two things have absolutely increased our enrollment, and our enrollment is up both on first time college students and in transfers, we’re beating both metrics," Corcoran said.
He also believed the expansion of the school’s athletic program was at play, stating, "probably a third of those [new enrollees] will be athletes."
Something else may be at play that accounts for the school’s enrollment spike — a change in direction, a different attitude, something called freedom.
The president’s announcement came six months after Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., appointed six conservatives to the Sarasota-based liberal arts college’s board of trustees.
This was part of his effort to turn it into a "Hillsdale of the South," a reference to the conservative, Michigan-based Hillsdale College.
The new board members immediately set to work replacing its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) program with a purely merit-based system.
Before the change, New College was considered the most progressive school in Florida’s public university system, complete with a prominent LGBT community.
It was perhaps for that very reason that DeSantis targeted the school in his "War on Woke."
The board also approved am initiative to request $2 million in funding from the state legislature to establish a "Freedom Institute," in an effort to push back at "cancel culture" in higher education.
The proposed institute would promote "tolerance of opposing views" and "engage such views in civil discourse," something that’s increasingly been discouraged in higher education.
These were all hallmarks of university life back in the day, when students were encouraged to debate issues with their professors and fellow students. Then "woke" took over, and anything not strictly in line with "woke" got cancelled.
“There is a tremendous move nationwide to ensure that our college campuses are true marketplaces of ideas, where you can allow your mind to explore the great reaches of everything,” Corcoran said at Thursday’s meeting.
"And right now there is a tremendous cancel culture that is existing in higher ed. There’s a tremendous pushback against that cancel culture," he added.
And it hasn’t just taken over our college campuses. It’s become a part of everyday life and has invaded federal government to the point where the White House, the Department of Justice and the FBI were openly "flagging" social media posts for censorship.
Accordingly, much of that spike in enrollment can be attributed to a hunger: A hunger to speak freely and openly without fear of reprisal; a hunger to be judged purely on one’s merit; and a hunger for a return to our basic human values.
In short, a hunger for the freedoms that America’s founders sought 247 years ago.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn took to social media to remark on this Sunday.
"Freedom of speech = freedom of thought," the Tennessee Republican tweeted. "That terrifies the radical Left.”
One of the most memorable, recurring lines in the film “Field of Dreams” was, “If you build it, they will come.”
DeSantis proposed it, and Corcoran and his board are building it.
And they are coming.
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to Newsmax. He is also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter. Read Michael Dorstewitz's Reports — More Here.
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