California Governor Gavin Newsom Visits Controversial New College of Florida Amid Ongoing Culture Wars

California Governor Gavin Newsom recently visited the New College of Florida in Sarasota, where he met with students and faculty.[0] The college has become a flashpoint in the ongoing culture wars after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis appointed six conservative members to the board of trustees, leading to the abolition of the institution’s “equity” ideology in favor of a merit-based approach.[1] Newsom’s visit comes as part of his national campaign to speak out against red state policies. He rebuked DeSantis’s culture war campaign, stating that he is “crawling out of his skin” for the students and that they “matter” and are not alone.

DeSantis has not officially announced his bid for the presidency, but it is widely believed that he will do so in the coming weeks.[2] Newsom’s visit to the New College of Florida comes just weeks after DeSantis criticized California’s approach to the pandemic and education during a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.[3]

The Florida board of governors voted to give the college $10 million in recurring funds for operational enhancements and $5 million in nonrecurring funds for scholarships.[4] However, the controversy surrounding the college’s shift towards conservatism continues, with DeSantis’s focus on “getting Florida’s public institutions of higher learning refocused on academics and truth” and Newsom’s visit as part of a campaign against red state policies.[3]

0. “Gavin Newsom Laughs at Ron DeSantis in His Own Backyard” Newsweek, 5 Apr. 2023,

1. “Gavin Newsom visits New College of Florida” Florida’s Voice, 5 Apr. 2023,

2. “Gov. DeSantis to speak at Liberty University convocation April 14” Altavista Journal, 5 Apr. 2023,

3. “California Gov. Gavin Newsom visits New College, countering DeSantis” Tampa Bay Times, 5 Apr. 2023,

4. “New College gets $15 million from Board of Governors – Tampa Bay Business Journal” The Business Journals, 29 Mar. 2023,

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