When it was announced that the selection committee chose Nebraska Republican Senator Ben Sasse to replace the outgoing UF President, many in the university community were shocked and incensed. Thanks to a new law pushed through by Sasse's friend Governor DeSantis, the committee's work was done in secret, in contravention of Florida's long-standing 'Sunshine Laws' which require open reporting.
When Sasse came to UF in November to speak, he was met with a disruptive audience that resulted in him being pulled out of the building.
Sasse takes up his official duties at UF on Monday.
A protest is planned for 2 p.m. outside of the University Administration building Tigert Hall, located at the corner of SW 13th St. and SW 2nd Ave. A coalition of students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members will be protesting.
Sasse is a known homophobe who has made several anti-LGBTQ remarks throughout his public career. in 2015 he expressed his dislike for the Supreme Court decision that rules in favor of same-sex marriage. He also dismissed the need for a Respect For Marriage Act — proposed legislation that would make the federal government recognize same-sex and interracial marriages. The bill was just a “bullsh-t” attempt by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi “to divide America with culture wars,” Sasse told reporters in July.
To queer students, faculty and staff, Sasse represents a blatant disregard for their lives and livelihoods.
The protestors are demanding Sasse maintain pre-existing commitments to inclusivity, equity and diversity in the University and that he publicly disavow attacks by Governor DeSantis on academic and free speech.
They are also insisting Sasse commit to market equity raises for staff and graduate assistants and that he commit to protecting tenure for UF faculty.
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