Politics | December 5th, 2023

Who’s Really Been Appointed by DeSantis?

By: Hannah Kirby
Who’s Really Been Appointed by DeSantis?

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis appointed five individuals to be university trustees, with two of them being notable critics of diversity, equity, and inclusion practices in higher education. They joined the Florida Polytechnic University’s board as a part of an ongoing quest to eliminate DEO practices in public institutions.

The governor announced the appointment of Ilya Shapiro, Dorian Abbot, Clifford Otto, Sidney Theis, and David Clark to the Florida Polytechnic’s Board of Trustees.

The new appointees have questionable backgrounds to many who look into their history for the positions that they now uphold.

“Being a student at a Historically Black College and University can already be difficult. With the political climate in Florida, it is important to make sure that we as students have people to support and advocate for us,” said Sophomore Business Administration student Rayn Fields. “Those that sit on the board of diversity, equity and inclusion are supposed to be trusted allies for us, but with these new appointments I’m not sure if that’s the case.”

Among the group of appointees, Abbot is a professor in the University of Chicago’s Department of Geophysical Sciences. Abbot made national headlines in 2021 after a lecture he had scheduled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was canceled after he expressed views about Nazism and other conflicting concepts.

Shapiro is currently a Manhattan Institute fellow but is notably known for his whirlwind stint at Georgetown University Law School. He was placed on administrative leave in January 2022 before starting the position. The leave was prompted by a tweet that he made questioning the looming Supreme Court appointment. Shapiro suggested that President Joe Biden would appoint a “lesser black woman” and also made reference to affirmative action.

Both individuals have had issues and caused controversy with their opposition to college DEI practices, leading students to protest and try to get the speakers’ campus talks. Of all the newly appointed members, only two appear to live in Florida, Clark and Otto.

Each member has something about them that students seem to dislike and feel uncomfortable with.

“After realizing how many different times the various individuals have either said offensive things or made moves that affect individuals that look like me feel uncomfortable. I don’t believe they deserve the titles that they’ve received,” Fields said. “They’ll most likely end up doing more damage than good.”

DeSantis has the authority to appoint 6 out of 13 trustees for Florida Polytechnic University. The other five spots are set by the Florida Board of Governors, which oversees the State University System. The last two seats are filled by either a student or a faculty member.