Sasse, a Republican from Nebraska, was named the lone runner-up for the UF post last month. If he accepts the post, he is expected to resign from the Senate in December. He would take office in early 2023, the university said.
UF trustees voiced support for Sasse’s vision to harness technological disruption to make Florida’s flagship university more nimble and relevant, promising big changes even as he reassured faculty members that he supported academic freedom and the tenure system.
“I am grateful for the Board’s unanimous vote and endorsement of our shared vision to make the University of Florida a world-changing institution and a pioneer in higher education,” Sasse said in a statement. .
On Tuesday, protesters gathered outside the meeting – they weren’t allowed in – some were wearing Sasse masks and chanting, according to the campus newspaper, the Florida Independent Alligator.
In recent months, some faculty members have complained of excessive political influence on the public university, accusing Tallahassee Republicans, including Gov. Ron DeSantis, of threatening academic freedom.
Last week, the university’s faculty senate passed a no-confidence resolution, criticizing what they said was a flawed selection process, and the United Florida Faculty’s UF chapter passed a resolution expressing deep concern about the choice of Sasse as a finalist.
University of Florida faculty ‘not confident’ in Sasse selection
On Tuesday, Sasse pledged to abandon partisan politics if chosen as college president. He told board members who interviewed him that he is a romantic when it comes to the importance of education and the mission of the university. “The quest for knowledge and truth is the endeavor of a lifetime,” he said.
Senator Ben Sasse’s bid for U-Florida president sparks protests
This is a developing story.
Paul Kane contributed to this report.