In the face of recent political adversities at New College of Florida, faculty and students have been concerned that the rates of admissions will take a drastic turn. Former President Patricia Okker and admissions staff admitted twice the number of students in the 2021-2022 academic year than the year previous—the largest incoming class New College has welcomed since 2016. Now that there is a lack of executive stability, there are worries that incoming classes will stray away from New College despite its educational strengths. Student Ambassadors working in Admissions continue answering panicked phone calls from parents and threats from New College adversaries in an attempt to mediate emotions in the community. Students and staff hope that the apprehension to New College is a temporary reaction to these new changes; however there is still a chance admission rates will crash following recent and future actions of the Board of Trustees (BOT).
There has been an evident community reaction directed towards the Admissions department since Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed seven new trustee members with big plans for the change of New College culture. Thesis student, Student Ambassador and Admissions Representative Rocio Ramirez Castro spoke with the Catalyst via email on the issue.
“I have had callers tell me that we are not doing enough and give me uninformed ‘suggestions’ on how New College students and faculty ‘should’ be responding to the situation,” Ramirez Castro stated. “I’ve also had calls from angry parents of prospective or accepted students saying they have ‘torn up’ the application. Some calls are simply conservative trolls I enjoy politely redirecting and hanging up on.”
However, Ramirez Castro also provided an optimistic view of their experiences while working at Admissions.
“A lot of tours have been canceled or simply not shown up,” Ramirez Castro said. “But tours are still being given and there are a good number of students still registered for tours, Preview day and the Novo 4 a Day program.”
Novo 4 a Day is an opportunity in which admitted or considering students are able to shadow a current New College student, active from Oct. 1 through April 25. Admissions also offers transfer information sessions, virtual guaranteed admissions advising sessions as well as in-person guided tours.
Other Student Ambassadors such as second-year and Catalyst staff writer Gabriella “Gaby” Batista expressed their concern for the declining number of tours in the Admissions department, despite these admissions events on campus.
“At the Admissions office, we typically have no shortage of tours to give, usually four a day, but those numbers have plummeted, at least based on my observations,” Batista said. “I would usually give one or two tours a week, but I’ve only given one since returning to campus and resuming work early January.”
Admission staff members respectfully declined when asked for an interview, and were not able to share statistics such as student withdrawals or tour cancellations. Their name has been withheld for privacy purposes, they were able to share some information about recent experiences in the office:
“While I cannot give you specifics about if students have withdrawn from New College or canceled their campus visits, I can say that we have received phone calls from unhappy and concerned parents. Most want to be reassured that New College faculty and students will remain true to the core values. They also want to know how the new leadership will impact student activities and programs.”