Faculty leaders have no confidence that incoming president Ben Sasse’s can “learn on the job” to lead the University of Florida.
The Faculty Senate of the University of Florida voted “no confidence” in the Republican senator from Nebraska at an emergency meeting on Thursday afternoon. The flagship university’s Board of Trustees is expected to officially hire Sasse on Tuesday, but the Faculty Senate said the selection process that led to Sasse being chosen as the sole finalist had undermined trust.
“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’s no-confidence resolution says. “Anything less will result in a lack of faith in leadership.”
Sasse, who voted to impeach and convict former President Donald Trump but has otherwise voted along party lines, was the president of Midland University in Nebraska from 2010-2014. He called UF “the most important institution in the nation’s most economically dynamic state.”
Sasse’s hiring has generated additional controversy with university administrators’ announcing earlier this week that they would enforce a ban on indoor protests to prevent students, faculty and others from rallying outside Tuesday’s Board of Trustees meeting. PEN America, an anti-censorship organization, equated the university’s decades-old policy to “banning freedom of expression itself,” adding, however, that protestors should not shut down or obstruct others’ freedom of speech.
“Argument and protest have their place on campuses, even when they grow heated,” Jonathan Friedman, PEN America’s director of free expression and education programs said in a statement. “The decision only exacerbates current state government efforts to censor voices on Florida campuses, contributing to a chilling climate for students and faculty.”
More from UB: Censorship legislation and its grip on education