(GAINESVILLE, FLA) — UPDATE — The University of Florida has a new president after the Florida Board of Governors confirmed the appointment of former Republican Senator Ben Sasse. He’s signed a five-year deal with a base salary of one million dollars a year, along with bonuses. As part of the deal, the 50-year-old agreed to not talk politics. He also told the board he aspires for Gainesville to be the center of a revolution for higher education in America.
Students at the University of Florida voicing opposition after the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to select Republican Nebraska Senator. Dr. Ben Sasse as the school’s 13th president.
The University of Florida Board of Trustees voted unanimously today to select U.S. Sen. Dr. Ben Sasse as UF’s president-elect. pic.twitter.com/7XRIl28u1X
— FLORIDA (@UF) November 1, 2022
Outside the meeting, students expressed concern.
“I think his values are antithetical to the values of the university and its core mission,” said UF student Aron Ali-McClory.
UF student Ava Kaplan told News4Jax, “I think the process that got Ben Sasse to this point is a sham. It doesn’t include the voices of the community that he’s supposed to serve.”
Sasse faced questioning on those concerns such as his stance on LGBTQ issues to and whether his views on China and whether that should be of concern to Chinese students.
He also denied getting any preferential treatment for Republican Governor Ron DeSantis.
“No. I did not think I have had conversation or been in a room with Gov. DeSantis since he was a congressman in 2016. I’ve had zero conversations with him about this and have been shepherded through this process by no one,” Sasse responded.
In fact, Sasse says he plans to take what he calls a “period of political celibacy” while assuming the new role.
His selection still needs approval from the state university system’s Board of Governors on Nov. 9. The meeting took place after UF’s Faculty Senate on Thursday passed a resolution saying members have no confidence in a presidential search process that led to Sasse being the sole finalist to lead the university.