New college students are planning an alternative degree in protest at the changes to the start of their studies and on campus

SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) — Students at the embattled New College of Florida plan to hold an alternative graduation ceremony in protest of the state takeover and who is scheduled to speak at the school’s official opening ceremony.

The plans come against the backdrop of far-reaching conservative changes at the small humanities college. In recent months, a board of trustees appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis voted to abolish the college’s Office of Diversity.

Earlier this week, the governor visited campus to enact three bills related to higher education.

“This bill addresses some of these niche issues like critical race theory, other types of DEI, infused courses and majors,” Gov. DeSantis said. “Florida is getting out of this game.”

DeSantis’ visit sparked protests from students on campus.

“I hope they know they have a long fight ahead of them over the next year because the students of New College will not give in to this fascist attack on our school and our education,” Madison Markham said.

An online fundraiser has raised more than $118,000 for the alternative degree. According to the website, Thursday’s private ceremony will be held at an undisclosed location and time in Sarasota.

The school’s official opening ceremony is scheduled for Friday.

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