March 13, 2023
A former trustee at New College of Florida says 13 major donors told her they are canceling more than $29 million in planned contributions since Gov. Ron DeSantis began transforming the school, a huge financial blow to the small college.
Charlie Lenger served on the New College board until Jan. 6, when DeSantis replaced her in a dramatic move that saw six conservative board members appointed with a mandate to transform the college.
The newly appointed board, after an emotional meeting Feb. 28, voted to abolish the office handling diversity, equity and inclusion programs at New College. DeSantis previously pushed through legislation governing how K-12 schools in Florida discuss race and gender identity and recently prohibited an Advanced Placement course in African American studies.
Lenger served on the New College Foundation board for 35 years, helping to bring in donors, and has been a longtime donor herself. A Sarasota, Florida, resident, she founded a plant-leasing company in 1981 that grew out of her senior thesis at New College.