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SRQ DAILY Dec 9, 2023

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

"New College of Florida is redefining the narrative of education by standing firm in the long-standing tradition of a classic liberal arts education."

- Richard Corcoran, New College of Florida

[Under The Hood]  A Familiar Tale of Ambition and Lust
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

As long as social hierarchies existed, the proximity of sex and power never felt far apart. It should be unsurprising that the same appetite for influence and elevated status manifests frequently as lust. But it’s a hunger that also destroys the legacies of those most prone to seeking satisfaction at any cost. History bears the tales of Henry VII, Alexander Hamilton, Bill Clinton and who, even if their achievements were many, will always be as well known for their personal scandals.

I hesitate a bit in comparing the events unfolding in Sarasota over the past two weeks, largely because an accusation of rape raises the allegations against Christian Ziegler could expose him to be more than a mere hypocrite or cad. But there’s an unmistakable marriage between ambition and impurity.

For those who avoided the seedy political scandal consuming Sarasota’s most prominent powerful couple, I offer a far-from-complete recap. Republican Party of Florida Chair Christian Ziegler and Sarasota County School Board member Bridget Ziegler remain at the edge of political ruin, if not already sliding into the abyss, after publicly admitting to dalliances including a threesome with a Sarasota woman. But Christian stands accused of showing up to a scheduled tryst without Bridget, the party the woman was interested in engaging, but says Christian forced her to have sex with him anyway.

As I write this, new evidence has emerged that may help Christian Ziegler avoid an arrest for rape, courtesy video he took that has now been turned over to police. Some details that don’t meet the breakfast test, but which can be found online with little effort dear reader, at least suggest the encounter lacked the forcefulness hinted at by a search warrant made public a week ago. But questions remain about a string of communication before and after the act, and with an accuser’s state of mind, as well as her consent to have of this captured on camera.

Regardless, if the Zieglers believe any of this will help evade all political fallout, they lack objectivity. Repeatedly, I have heard from political opponents and allies that the accusation of rape may be the most serious, but the salacious details around the couple’s personal lifestyle already delivered fatal blows to their credibility.

The Zieglers built a political brand on social conservatism, from degrading transgender children as psychologically broken to discussing the mere existence of gays and lesbians as too taboo for students to hear. These parents, who won’t let their children attend public schools because they fear the words “White privilege” getting spoken aloud, apparently believe other members of society need to be held to a very different standard than they hold themselves.

Many progressives and libertarians don’t want government having a hand in how they pursue romantic relationships. Many social conservatives, bluntly, do see a role. But for the most past, those who hold sanctimonious views live conservative lives. And honestly, most married people regardless of their political views govern their love lives under stricter guardrails than we learned about this week.

Which raises the question anew why those with so much to lose risk the most. The best answer I can suggest is impunity. Those at the topic of the social ladder often believe they have found a station above mores, or even above the law. In some cases, that may be why they were grasping for the next rung up the whole time.

Jacob Ogles is contributing senior editor of SRQ MEDIA. 

Photo courtesy Facebook

[Higher Education]  Closing a Transformational Semester
Richard Corcoran, rcorcoran@ncf.edu

Reflecting on the transformational semester that is coming to a close, I am filled with appreciation for the tireless efforts of our faculty and students as we scale New College of Florida into the very best liberal arts school in the country. The dedication of our team and their commitment to our mission has made New College stand out in the face of the current crisis facing higher education.

While many colleges and universities have fallen prey to indoctrination and a lack of educational freedom and choice, New College is emerging as a beacon of true liberal arts and great thinking. We are pressing against the forces that have plagued other institutions, resisting fruitless degree programs, crippling student debt and a disregard for civil discourse. New College is different. 

At New College, we understand the true value of a liberal arts education. In a world filled with noise and lacking accountability, we need spaces where intellectual curiosity and ambition can thrive. We need individuals who know how to think critically about our future and are equipped with high character and great achievement to take on the challenges we collectively face in our society and culture. This is the power of a liberal arts education, and this is the power of New College.

Our success goes beyond academic achievements. We have experienced growth in enrollment, with a more diverse student body on campus. We have established a competitive intercollegiate athletics program that brings new energy and school spirit to student life. We are expanding our masters programming to feature world class Marine Mammal Science and partnering with organizations like Mote Marine Laboratory to enhance our data science and visualization program. These initiatives will positively impact the blue economy associated with the Sarasota Bay.

As President, I am committed to upholding the rich history and founding principles of New College. It is my mission to affirm the promise of possibility, progress, growth and opportunity for our entire student body. The faculty, administration and I are proud of the course we are charting, and in 2024, you will witness even more progress as we embark on a campus master plan to provide the academic, residential and recreational facilities necessary to reach our most ambitious goals for intentional expansion. 

New College of Florida is redefining the narrative of education by standing firm in the long-standing tradition of a classic liberal arts education. We are dedicated to becoming the greatest liberal arts honors college in the country by bringing together great thinkers, teaching students how to think critically for themselves and fostering a sense of community and collaboration among our students, faculty and business leaders. 

By prioritizing true liberal arts and critical thinking, New College is leading the way in higher education, and there is no place I would rather be than right here, right now, making a lasting impact. 

Richard Corcoran is President of New College of Florida. 

Photo courtesy New College of Florida Facebook.

[HOTY]  Last Day for 2024 Home of the Year Early Submissions!

SRQ Magazine is calling home builders, architects, landscape architects and interior designers to submit their projects from the past year. The winning entries are awarded Home of the Year Platinum, Gold, and Silver Awards and the winning entries are published in the March 2024 awards edition of SRQ Magazine. 

Enter Here!

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Sarasota Cars and Coffee at University Town Center , March 11 – December 9, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

This monthly gathering of car enthusiasts brings together automobile lovers from every walk of life, not to mention a wide array of spectacular cars. Bring your own vehicle (all makes and models are welcome) to show off, or check out the hundreds of cars on display. Each month, the event sponsors a different charity, and attendees are encouraged to donate $10 to benefit the charity. The event, occuring on the second Sunday of each month, will feature live music, complimentary coffee and more. To learn more, visit facebook.com/carsandcoffee941. Sarasota Cars and Coffee, The West District at University Town Center near Ford’s Garage, 295 N. Cattlemen Rd., Sarasota.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Fresh Harvest Farmers Market at Wellen Park , June 25 – December 29, 9 am to 1 pm

Visit Fresh Harvest, the newly launched weekly farmers market in Downtown Wellen. Fresh Harvest offers a selection of local goods from nearly 40 local vendors. Fresh Harvest takes place every Sunday in Downtown Wellen from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Attendees can peruse different vendor booths and stock up on a variety of goods. Vendors will offer a wide variety of locally grown and produced food, including herbs, spices, cut flowers, teas, canned and preserved fruits and vegetables, syrups, baked goods, pickled foods, fresh seafood, meats, poultry, eggs, milk and prepared food and beverages. A limited selection of craft vendors also participate in the farmers market. For a listing of participating vendors and more information on Fresh Harvest Farmers Market, visit wellenpark.com/events/fresh-harvest-farmers-market. Downtown Wellen, 19745 Wellen Park Blvd., Venice.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Jazz Thursdays , July 13 – December 14, 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Join Sarasota Art Museum for Jazz Thursdays featuring live jazz music, contemporary art, and sips and bites from Bistro. Hosted by the Jazz Club of Sarasota. Jazz Thursday happens on the second Thursday of each month, 5:30-8 p.m. Galleries, Bistro, and SHOP open. FREE for Members, $20 for Not-Yet Members.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Sights and Sounds at Waterside Place , July 28 – May 31, 6 to 9 p.m.

Head out to Waterside Place for a rocking evening as part of the Lakewood Ranch Sights and Sounds Program. Enjoy a live concert in partnership with Easterseals and EveryoneRocks, featuring artists who are rocking their spectrum. This event is free and open to the public; there is limited seating at the Plaza, but attendees are welcome to bring their own seats. Food and beverages will be available from numerous Waterside Place merchants. For more information on shows, dates, and times, visit lakewoodranch.com/sights-sounds/. Waterside Place, 1560 Lakefront Dr., Sarasota.

[SOON]  BUSINESS: Business Networking and Cowork Session , August 22 – June 25, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Attention all business professionals. Join us for a productive and inspiring coworking event every Tuesday at Out and About Coffee in downtown Sarasota. Take advantage of this opportunity to network and collaborate with fellow professionals in a relaxed and comfortable environment. Limited spots available, so register now on Eventbrite. O and A Coffee Supply, 1316 Main St., Sarasota.

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Working Conditions at The Ringling , August 26 – March 3, varied times

Explore labor through The Ringlings Working Conditions photography exhibit, running until March 3, 2024. The Industrial Revolution of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries radically changed the nature of human labor. That era is defined by a global shift from producing goods by hand to manufacturing by machines and technologies that emphasized efficiency. Working Conditions explores the myriad ways in which photographs have communicated ideas about labor since the nineteenth century through examples from The Ringlings photography permanent collection. For more information, visit ringling.org.

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine. Note: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns.In the CocoTele department, SRQ DAILY is providing excerpts from news releases as a public service. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by SRQ DAILY. The views expressed by individuals are their own and their appearance in this section does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

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