University of Florida faculty has ‘no confidence’ in Sasse as potential president

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) received a vote of “no confidence” from the University of Florida’s faculty over growing controversy that he was chosen to serve as the institution’s next president.

“The next President should come already equipped to lead an institution of this caliber rather than aiming to learn on the job,” the Faculty Senate resolution reads. “Anything less will result in a lack of faith in leadership.”

Sasse, who has been in the U.S. Senate since 2015, emerged as the lone finalist after a secretive search for the university’s next leader. The University of Florida board of trustees is set to take up Sasse’s appointment on Tuesday.

In their resolution, Faculty Senate members argued that the confidential process that left just one candidate for the position was politically motivated, after the state adopted a new law backed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and GOP lawmakers that led to more privacy in college and university leadership searches.

“The process of the thirteenth Presidential search, conducted in accordance with the updated Florida State Bill 520, has undermined the trust and confidence of the University of Florida Faculty Senate in the selection of the sole finalist Dr. Ben Sasse,” they wrote in the resolution, which passed in a 67-15 vote.

Sasse, who worked at Midland Lutheran College in Nebraska for four years before running for Senate, has generally received mixed reviews as far as his potential as university president. Students have protested his candidacy largely due to his past remarks opposing same-sex marriage.

Sasse reportedly told attendees of a campus Q&A session earlier this month that he took positions as senator “that represent the views of Nebraskans” and being the university’s president would be a “completely different job.”

In a news release announcing his selection, Sasse called Florida “the most interesting university in America right now.”

“It’s the most important institution in the nation’s most economically dynamic state — and its board, faculty and graduates are uniquely positioned to lead this country through an era of disruption,” Sasse said in the statement.

“The caliber of teaching and research at UF is unmistakable, carried out through the core principles of shared governance and academic freedom. I’m thrilled about the opportunity to work alongside one of the nation’s most outstanding faculties.”

Tags Ben Sasse Ben Sasse Florida Gainesville politics University of Florida
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