Recently released text messages suggest New College of Florida Trustee, Matthew Spalding, coordinated efforts behind the scenes to overhaul the institution’s leadership. Alumni have said this news raises legal and ethical concerns.
According to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Spalding texted several individuals to plan the motions he made during a Board of Trustees meeting on Jan. 31. These motions included moving towards hiring Richard Corcoran as interim president and Bill Galvano as general counsel for New College’s board.
Governor Ron DeSantis also appointed six new members to the institution’s Board of Trustees on Jan. 6, just weeks before Spalding’s motions.
Many New College alumni have expressed frustration and worry over these changes to the board. Some have formed groups to fight for the preservation of the college’s founding principles, including a new nonprofit called the Novo Collegian Alliance.
Bill Rosenberg is a New College alum and a member of the Board of Directors for the Novo Collegian Alliance.
He said Spalding’s text messages indicate that the board isn’t following Florida’s Sunshine laws.
Rosenberg and other concerned alumni are lobbying to senators who will review the Board of Trustees appointments in hopes they will oppose them.
“These trustees are not qualified for the offices they’ve been appointed to,” Rosenberg said. “There was no vetting. They were hoisted upon the existing board and the existing president with no consultation at all with the New College community. It simply happened.”
As of Thursday evening, New College of Florida had not responded to an emailed request for comment.