The editorial reflects the views of the Palm Beach Post editorial board, not the Post newsroom.
State Rep. Randy Fine of R-Brevard County said Gov. Ron DeSantis approached him to run for president of Florida Atlantic University.
Universities are for open minds, which neither he nor DeSantis learned at Harvard. Fine is proudly closed-minded, which he has proven in many ways.
He co-sponsored DeSantis’ “Stop WOKE” law, which limits classroom discussions of America’s racial history. It demonstrates that he is more comfortable perpetuating America’s Dark Ages than waking up and acknowledging the continuing impacts of slavery, and celebrating the social renaissance of the past decades while deepening the hard work that remains to be done.
More:5 things to know about Randy Fine: Could the GOP firebrand be a potential candidate to lead the FAU?
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He called gays and lesbians “prepared” minors. As Gannett’s Eric Rogers and Tyler Vazquez reported, Fine supported banning transgender student-athletes from playing on teams consistent with their gender identity. He also urged a ban on surgery and hormone therapy for young transgender people, calling it “a fantasy…that turns our women’s sports into a joke and our schools into a cesspool.”
He backed the so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, which was supposed to prevent classroom teaching about gender issues to younger students – something that wasn’t happening anyway – then, within a short time time, worked to ban such discussion all the way. until high school.
It also decided to criminalize “adult live performances” in front of children – drag shows. “If that means obliterating a community because you have to target children, then fine, we have to do that,” he urged his fellow lawmakers.
Full stop. “Erase a community? “We should do it?” Who do you envision for a college president, Governor?
But don’t call Fine a Nazi. He reserves the right to do this to others. He called one of his Jewish constituents “Judenrat“, a Nazi collaborator, for supporting public debate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
When DeSantis took revenge on Disney, for speaking out against “Don’t Say Gay” on behalf of his employees, Fine was at the forefront, sponsoring the bill to replace the Reedy Creek Improvement District, through which Disney managed his area. “They passed their skis as guests in our state,” Fine said. “We remind them of that.”
Revenge (or “account”, as he puts it) is a frequent theme in Finestan. As Rogers and Vazquez reported, he went after tech companies that DeSantis accused of running counter to conservative views. And during the pandemic, he offered to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars from a ‘dirty dozen’ of school districts, including one in Palm Beach County, that sought to defy DeSantis’ ban on mask mandates. .
So our Boca-based university of more than 30,000 students, eyes open to the future, faces the prospect of leadership not of a bright light of broad-minded intellectual pursuit, but of a a slave to political dogma, who has no experience in higher education. educational administration. He’s a former casino manager.
Two phone messages left with Fine were not returned by our deadline.
It could just be that Fine, who finds controversy, just a workhorse to make a different choice of DeSantis more palatable to the public in comparison. But he fits the profile of someone who intends to tilt an institution to the right, as the governor did at New College, with no regard for academic independence, minorities, LGBTQ+ community or anyone who doesn’t fit politically – even the largest single-site employer in the state.
Certainly, if the position were offered to him, it would be a prestigious position to command. And a lucrative one. Current FAU president Dr. Stacy Volnick, whose contract expires Dec. 31, earns $500,000 a year, plus $60,000 a year in a retirement fund.
Even if Fine doesn’t get final approval from the governor or the university’s board of trustees, simply letting the world know he was being considered raises his public profile as a soldier of the potential presidential candidate. US President Ron DeSantis. It’s a nice endorsement. Did we mention that State Rep. Fine is running for Florida Senate?
But, for the prestige of the Florida university system, and more importantly for the independent pursuit of knowledge by FAU students, Fine would be a misguided choice.