‘Alt New College’ students fight against gender ban

WWSB ABC7 News at Noon
Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 12:35 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - New College of Florida has seen several protests in recent months. Protests began in May when Gov. Ron DeSantis banned certain race and gender studies from being taught in public schools.

Some students call it a ‘conservative take-over’ of New College, a place that Queer students say used to be a ‘safe haven’ for them.

“Having to fight for Queer rights brought back onto campus is scary,” said Lyfrassir Walen, a current student at New College. “It makes me a little more hesitant to be myself.”

As a retaliation against the changes, ‘Alt New College’ has been created. It calls itself an online institute for academic freedom.

The new organization is set to host it’s first lecture Monday at 2:30pm. The topic is gender studies and two speakers, Masha Gessen and Judith Butler, will discuss it.

Former New College Senate President, Libby Harrity, will introduce the speakers and share her story.

During the protests, she was accused of spitting on New College Trustee Christopher Rufo’s shoes.

Several charges were pressed against her, however, Libby says the school offered the charges to disappear if she withdrew.

“This (Alt) talk is in many ways to wake y’all up,” said Libby, “and to make sure people remember, people know, people see I’m here and then here are the ideas that have existed since Judith butler and Masha Gessen started writing back in 1980.”

The online lecture is open to anyone to join. You just have to register through AltNewCollege.org.

Libby says more lectures are scheduled in the future.