The following statement was passed by official motion and majority vote of the faculty of New College of Florida on Feb. 10, 2023. Signed by Chair of the Faculty Matthew Lepinski and Vice-Chair of the Faculty Nicolas Delon.
We stand united in this moment, as in the past and for the future, in support of New College’s long-standing values and mission. As faculty at a public liberal arts honors college, we are dedicated to free and open critical inquiry in our classes, on campus, and in our community, and to creating a space of belonging to support the achievements, dignity, and personhood of all.
Colleges and universities, including New College, help students find their passions and gain the skills they need to make a difference. New College graduates are leaders in professions from acting to zookeeping and a multitude of specialties in between. Our students have become architects, artists, authors, college professors and presidents, community leaders, data scientists, diplomats, doctors, environmentalists, farmers, a Federal Reserve Bank president, a Fields Medalist in mathematics, film makers, Fulbright award winners (86 and counting!), game makers, Gillman International Scholars, high earners (median salary >10 years post-graduation>$100,000), journalists, a Marshall Scholar, NSF Graduate Research Fellows, judges, lawyers, parents, political leaders (both sides of the aisle), scholars (among public universities, we have the highest per-capita percentage of graduates who go on to receive doctoral degrees), singer/songwriters, teachers, television writers and producers, Udall Undergraduate Scholars, urban planners, veterinarians, and much more.
We respect our students as leaders and learners. We support their fearless pursuit of knowledge. We assert our unflagging commitment to free speech, academic freedom and integrity, and the respectful exchange of differing viewpoints. We are proud to uphold the State University System of Florida (SUS) Statement on Free Expression. With our colleagues across the system, we honor its assertions that “a fundamental purpose of an institution of higher education is to provide a learning environment where divergent ideas, opinions and philosophies, new and old, can be rigorously debated and critically evaluated,” and we oppose any efforts to “stifle the dissemination of any ideas.”
We appreciate the leadership of the SUS Board of Governors in historically articulating the importance of making every institution (college or university) a space of belonging where unfettered teaching and learning can take place, and we join with our colleagues from faculties across the SUS in supporting widespread initiatives to expand accessibility and inclusiveness for all persons, regardless of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, marital status, veteran status, or political opinion or affiliation. We reject all attempts to politicize our support of every member of our community, which is dedicated to placing academic excellence and career success within reach of high-achieving students from all backgrounds.
Historical experience demonstrates that no institution can alone confront the challenges of well-orchestrated, well-funded entities seeking to stifle constitutionally guaranteed protections. Therefore, we are united with other universities and entities that stand strong to protect our shared freedoms and human dignity.
Florida needs strong colleges and universities that are open to all. Florida’s students deserve them. Florida’s citizens require them. We are proud of New College’s contributions to making our state, country and world, a better place.