A Ron Desantis-backed conservative activist was named in a civil rights complaint against a Florida college — after he misgendered an educator who used ze/zir pronouns.
The Biden administration’s Department of Education opened an investigation into the New College of Florida after it received a complaint last month alleging that the school’s board has created a “hostile” environment for transgender and disabled students and staff.
The complaint, received by the DOE’s Office for Civil Rights on Aug. 24, names Board of Trustees member Christopher Rufo, who was appointed to the New College’s board by DeSantis in January.
It alleges that Rufo, who is also a Manhattan Institute fellow, targeted specific students, parents, and staff with “sexist and transphobic ridicule.”
In one incident, the right-wing activist allegedly “mocked and misgendered” the director of New College’s Office of Outreach and Inclusive Excellence (OOIE), Yoleidy Rosario-Hernandez, after “ze was summarily fired,” according to a copy of the complaint shared by Rufo on his Substack.
Ze is a neopronoun, which is a form of personal pronoun preferred by some non-binary individuals who don’t feel that conventional pronouns — including they/them — accurately represent their gender identity.
In a March post to X, formerly known as Twitter, Rufo shared that his colleague had a preferred pronoun before referring to zir “her” and “she” in the next sentence.
“New College of Florida has fired its former DEI director, Yoleidy Rosario-Hernandez (“ze/zir”), after abolishing her department,” Rufo wrote.
“Rosario-Hernandez lashed out at me in the Washington Post, but I wish her well and hope she uses the opportunity to develop useful skills.”
Rufo is also named in the complaint as allegedly stating that LGBTQ+ people have “synthetic sexual political identities” and that transgender people have “personal psychopathologies.”
“Trustee Rufo mocks transgender students, calls New College students mentally ill, and blames their mothers,” the complaint states.
A plethora of other “hostility” against marginalized groups at New College was cited in the complaint, including the removal of gender-neutral bathroom signage and the abolishment of the college’s diversity program.
The board is also being accused of being “overtly hostile towards New College students, faculty, and staff on the basis of race, gender, religion, and disability.”
Rufo slammed the probe Friday, insisting the claims had no merit and would not make it through a formal investigation.
“This is a brazen attempt to subvert the democratic governance of New College and entrench left-wing ideological programs under the guise of civil rights law,” he wrote in his Substack newsletter.
“The Biden Administration has demonstrated repeatedly that it is willing to weaponize the federal law enforcement apparatus against school board parents and other conservative reformers.”
The Post has reached out to the New School and the US Department of Education.
At the time, the presidential hopeful said he hoped to shape the small liberal arts school into the “Hillsdale College of the South,” a private, conservative Christian school in Michigan.