Sasse A Step Closer To Becoming President Of The University of Florida

     Nebraska Republican U-S Senator Ben Sasse has been recommended by the University of Florida Board of Trustees to be the school’s next president despite student opposition and a faculty no-confidence vote.

     The unanimous vote Tuesday by the trustees on the campus in Gainesville is not the final approval for Sasse. He still needs to be approved by the University of Florida Board of Governors a week from Thursday  

      The trustees vote came at the end of a 4-hour open meeting during which Sasse  sought to allay concerns that he’s more a creature of politics than academia by saying he will take a “pledge of political celibacy” with regard to partisan issues.

     Sasse said he “would have no activity in partisan politics  in any way (because) there is “just tons and tons of learning and listening that I need to do,” adding that his candidacy was not pushed by GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis or other Florida elected officials.

      Sasse also said he strongly supports faculty tenure and academic freedom so that there is a robust exchange of all ideas on campus, and that students and faculty from China should feel welcome despite his strong criticism of the Chinese government.

    Opposition to Sasse has focused on his stance against same-sex marriage and positions on other LGBTQ issues, but also on his qualifications to run a school with more than 50,000 students after being president of 1,600-student Midland University.

   Also criticized was Florida’s new selection process in which all candidates remained anonymous until only the single finalist’s identity was revealed. Trustees chair Mori Hosseini says none of the top 12 candidates considered would have moved past the initial conservation had the process been public.

     University officials say the recommended compensation package for Sasse comes to about $1.6 million dollars, and will also be finalized at the Board of Governors meeting.

      Sasse plans to resign his Senate seat if he is confirmed at Florida, but he’s given no timetable for that.

If it’s before Nebraska’s next governor is sworn in, current Gov Pete Ricketts could appoint someone to fill out the remaining 4 years – but Ricketts has said he’ll leave that to his successor.

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