New College of Florida is initiating disciplinary measures against several students following protests during the school’s commencement ceremony on May 17. This decision comes amid heightened tensions and disruptions that marked the event, as documented in statements from the college and coverage by the Herald-Tribune.

According to the college, five conduct violation complaints have been filed in relation to breaches of the student code of conduct. A letter addressed to a graduate, which the Herald-Tribune obtained, indicates one student was cited for failing “to Respond to Instruction” due to disruptive behavior during the ceremony.

President Richard Corcoran of New College outlined potential penalties for those involved, which vary from withholding degrees pending an apology letter, to requiring attendance at classes focused on civil discourse, or even suspension and expulsion. “Rescinding an issued diploma is typically reserved for serious academic infractions like plagiarism or cheating,” said Corcoran, emphasizing the gravity of the situation.

The college had clearly set its expectations before the graduation, urging students to “conduct themselves in an appropriate manner, demonstrating respect for fellow graduates, guests, and speakers.” Despite this, the ceremony saw significant upheaval. Students booed and chanted “free Palestine” along with expletives, interrupting the speech of Joe Ricketts, the billionaire founder of TD Ameritrade. The protests included visual statements as well, with some students donning stoles adorned with the flag of Palestine.

Ricketts expressed his frustration during the event, reportedly saying to Corcoran on stage, “I hate it, but they really don’t care what I have to say.”

In an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal, President Corcoran reflected on the incident, stating that the protests were a “disheartening reflection of the prevailing intolerance for diverse viewpoints in today’s society.” He reassured, however, that such attitudes would not dominate the ethos at New College. The statement from the college also reaffirmed its commitment to free speech balanced with a demand for civility: “We support and protect the right of free speech while resolutely insisting upon civil discourse.”

As the college moves forward with its conduct hearings, the community and observers alike wait to see the outcomes of these disciplinary actions and their implications for campus dialogue and policy.



USA Socialite is your one-stop hub for local news, politics, sports updates, and the freshest celebrity insights.
Copyright © 2023. Designed by E2E Solution Providers.