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Public records lawsuit filed against New College and Board Trustee Christopher Rufo

Man in cowboy hat speaks listens to man in suit speaking.
Cathy Carter
WUSF Public Media
Christopher Rufo, right, spoke with faculty and students at New College of Florida in a public town hall event in Sarasota on Jan. 25, 2023.

The Florida Center for Government Accountability filed a lawsuit in Sarasota County to compel the release of documents.

In its complaint ,the nonprofit government accountability group said it sought public records made, received and sent by Board of Trustees member Christopher Rufo during a 17-day period in January 2023, but no records have been produced.

In a statement to WUSF, Michael Barfield, the center’s director of public access, said the group is "concerned about the turmoil at New College following the appointment of several trustees including statements about political motives to reshape the university. The Center made a public records request to find out what is going on behind the scenes. We have not received any records in response to our request."

Christopher Rufo is one of six conservative members appointed to the New College Board of Trustees in January by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

At the first meeting of the new conservative majority, the board fired the college's president and hired former state education commissioner Richard Corcoran to serve as the school's interim president.

The complaint said the suit was triggered by a 30-day deadline in state public records law, adding that “to date, not a single record has been produced, nor has New College or Rufo sought clarification of the scope of the records request.”

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