Chancellor suspends FAU president search. Critics allege politics.

The big story: Florida’s political and higher education worlds expressed surprise last week when Florida Atlantic University trustees named three finalists for their presidential search, and Republican firebrand Rep. Randy Fine was not among them.

Gov. Ron DeSantis had, by several accounts, encouraged Fine to seek the job. It’s not clear whether the Palm Bay lawmaker, whose work experience is in casinos, applied.

Days later, university system chancellor Ray Rodrigues, another DeSantis ally, put a stop to the search, alleging there were irregularities in the process. The move quickly came under criticism by opponents who accuse DeSantis of undermining Florida’s colleges and universities for political gain.

“FAU is being targeted for purely political reasons,” state Rep. Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando, said on Twitter. It’s gross and an insult to academic freedom and integrity.” Read more from the Palm Beach Post, Florida Politics.

Hot topics

Black history: The state’s reconfigured African American History Task Force has rescheduled its delayed summer institute for Aug. 7, with fewer topics on the agenda, Politico Florida reports. The group abruptly postponed the event in June after a new slate of appointees took over.

New College: Interim president Richard Corcoran said the revamped New College has hit a new record for enrollment, Florida’s Voice reports.

Security: Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed three new members to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, Florida Politics reports.

Other school news

Hillsborough County is looking into safety improvements for students who walk or bike to five schools. Improved sidewalks, crosswalks and traffic signals are under consideration, WFTS reports.

The longtime leader of Flagler Youth Orchestra resigned amid School Board questions about her management. The school district will discuss the orchestra’s future, and how it will have oversight going forward, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

From the police blotter … A New College of Florida student was charged with battery on allegations of spitting on trustee Christopher Rufo in May.

From the court docket … A Lee County judge found that a boy made a threat of violence against his elementary school last year, WFTX reports. The case drew national attention after the sheriff had the boy, then 10, perp walked after the arrest.

Don’t miss a story. Here’s the link to Friday’s roundup.

Before you go … Did your 4th of July celebration include fireworks? How did they compare to this drone presentation?

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