New College, SCF Trustee Boards Impacted in Mass Retraction

Government

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY WEDNESDAY PHILANTHROPY EDITION WEDNESDAY FEB 27, 2019

A massive retraction of gubernatorial appointments left half a dozen college and university trustees in the area wondering about their own futures. But for the moment, business will go on as usual.

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday called back 169 appointments, including three New College of Florida trustees appointed by former Governor Rick Scott. A full list was published originally by Florida Politics this weekend, and shows a range of state commissions and professional licensing boards impacted, but higher education represented the biggest chunk of rescinded appointments. New College saw more trustees yanked than any other state university.

But at a New College board meeting on Tuesday, members Garin Hoover and Felipe Colon both participated. Both of them, plus Mark Aesch, had been appointed by Scott but not yet confirmed by the Florida Senate.

Ann Comer-Woods, director of communications for New College, said the school communicated with the state Board of Governors, and that for the moment there’s no real change. The members can vote on issues, and continue to act as trustees. Of course, the three members may reapply for the positions and could still be selected by DeSantis to serve on the trustee board.

That’s true of three trustees for the State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota as well. Rod Thomson, John Home and Jayme Carter all had their positions pulled. Thomson last year was reappointed the a position he previously held. The move by DeSantis surprised him.

Thomson said college officials told him he will probably stay on through the session. He’s not sure if he wants to formally apply to same post. “If it requires going through a lot of paperwork and to go through all that bureaucracy again for the third time in two years, then probably not,” he says. “This is essentially volunteer work.”

Trustees often get tapped for their communitment to local campuses and communities, and commitments extend beyond board appointments. At the New College trustee meeting, members stressed the need to seek out financial support and represent the college throughout the region.

A number of past appointments have brought a philosophy to boards reflecting new gubernatorial direction. A Rick Scott appointment to the SCF board, Carlos Beruff, frequently butted heads with former president Lars Hafner, for example. A timetable for new appointments to trustee boards this round remains unclear, but colleges continue to work with the trustees they have in place.

Photo of New College of Florida

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