A visiting history professor at New College of Florida who criticized NCF’s Board of Trustees and interim president—as well as Governor Ron DeSantis’s efforts to reshape higher education in the state—is out after the administration decided not to renew his contract, Miami New Times reported.
The decision reportedly leaves NCF without a faculty member who specializes in U.S. history. It comes amid a push by DeSantis to convert the college into a conservative institution. The governor began the reconstruction of NCF in January when he appointed a swath of new trustees, who forced out the president and hired former Republican lawmaker Richard Corcoran.
Erik Wallenberg, the ousted history professor, pushed back on the takeover of NCF and the DeSantis education agenda by writing a critical op-ed for Teen Vogue and inviting Marvin Dunn—a Black historian and frequent DeSantis critic—to campus to discuss threats to academic freedom.
The op-ed seems to have raised the ire of trustee Chris Rufo, who has garnered national attention by attacking diversity, equity and inclusion efforts and who helped write model legislation that Florida lawmakers appear to have followed in defunding DEI efforts at state institutions.
In March, Rufo on Twitter bashed the op-ed Wallenberg and a faculty colleague authored, mocking their published work and writing: “Luckily, both are visiting professors.”
Wallenberg told The New Times he is considering filing a grievance with the faculty union.
Multiple employees have been pushed out of NCF since the DeSantis-appointed trustees took over, often with little or no explanation. Among them: the college’s former DEI dean, two LGBTQ+ employees and a provost who had publicly clashed with Rufo.
New College of Florida did not respond to specific questions about Wallenberg’s claims, stating by email that he was a visiting professor and his contract ended in May.