The Florida Senate rejected one of the six New College of Florida trustees Republican governor Ron DeSantis appointed to force a conservative makeover, Florida Politics reported.
Eddie Speir, the rejected trustee, was appointed by DeSantis in January and has already taken part in several meetings; he voted with the majority to fire NCF’s president and to deny tenure to five professors. Previously, Speir, who runs a private K-12 school in the state, had used his personal newsletter to raise the idea of firing all NCF employees and rehiring only those “who fit in the new financial and business model.” Speir had also called for eliminating tenure at New College.
Prior to his appointment, Speir had advanced conspiracies about coronavirus vaccines.
The Florida Senate voted Wednesday to approve recent appointments to state boards, but Speir was not among those. His request for approval was “left pending” and not acted upon. Now DeSantis has 45 days to reappoint Speir and again seek approval, or to appoint another trustee, according to Florida Politics. Speir will remain on the board until he is replaced. If Speir is reappointed and denied approval a second time, he will be ineligible to serve as an NCF trustee.
The news of Florida’s Senate refusing to confirm Speir’s appointment comes on the same day that New College announced that Dr. Scott Atlas, who briefly served as a special coronavirus adviser to former president Donald Trump, would speak at NCF’s May 19 commencement. Dr. Atlas has been criticized for promoting herd immunity as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.