Sen. Ben Sasse met with protests, concerns at University of Florida Q&As
The Senator from Nebraska was questioned by faculty, students, and employees while protesters chanted outside the livestreamed sessions.
The second-term Senator from Fremont who spent five years as president of Midland University was named as the sole choice president of the University of Florida last week.
Monday afternoon, Sasse participated in three open forums at UF, which were livestreamed: one for faculty, one for students, and a third for employees.
In the first session, with faculty, he was questioned about his previous statements on policy and his outlook on tenure. Concerns were also raised about his ability to be welcoming to minority communities, whether it’s people of color or the LGBTQ community.
Outside the sessions in the president’s rooms, protesters gathered, sometimes interrupting the question-and-answer session with their chants of “Hey, hey! Ho, ho! Ben Sasse has got to go!”
After taking a drink of water while waiting for the door to close and quiet the room again, he said he supported their right to do so.
“Obviously, I wish they didn’t have that opinion they have, but I support people having the right to protest and exercise their free speech rights. So, I won’t say I precisely welcome the protestors, but I sort of intellectually and constitutionally welcome the protesters.”
A Tampa Bay Times education reporter tweeted a video of that protest:
The Alligator, UF’s student newsroom, also reported on the protest, showing videos of protesters swarming the stage after one of the sessions and chanting expletives; as well as protesters outside along the street.
Digital Director Gina Dvorak contributed to this report.
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