A former adviser to Donald Trump, Dr. Scott Atlas, spoke at a New College of Florida graduation ceremony on Friday night amid Governor Ron DeSantis’ conservative takeover of education. Graduates and attendees didn’t, however, and greeted Atlas with boos, jeers, and chants of “Wrap him up!”
The start comes just months after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis replaced nearly half of the liberal arts college’s board of trustees with conservative allies as part of a broader effort to cut programs educational programs focused on diversity, inclusion and gender exploration and expression.
Atlas was a highly controversial member of Trump’s White House coronavirus task force until his resignation in December 2020. He repeatedly renounced pandemic lockdown measures and the widespread use of face masks and has resisted CDC guidelines.
To protest his speech and changes in school leadership, New College students held an alternative commencement ceremony on Thursday night where they heard remarks from Maya Wiley, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. .
During his remarks on Friday, Atlas praised the students for overcoming the difficulties of the pandemic, but was met with an outpouring of boos when he began to speak about his leadership at the time.
This week, DeSantis signed a bill to remove funding for diversity, equity, and inclusion programs from all state universities. He described the programs as a “distraction from the main mission”. However, he won’t win the youth vote with that dog whistle.
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