The announcement that U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, a Republican from Nebraska, is set to quit and assume the post as president of the University of Florida, caused an uproar in the political world last week in both Nebraska and Washington, D.C.
On Monday, he attended the public employment interview that was held on the Gainesville campus.
During a discussion that took place on Monday afternoon, students had the opportunity to ask Senator Sasse questions. Simultaneously, an apparently large student-led demonstration took place outside the room. The chants of “hey, hey, ho, ho, Ben Sasse has got to go” were quickly picked up on the audio of the webcast of the event that was taking place.
Sasse defended their right to do it.
“I wouldn’t say I’d precisely welcome the protesters, but I’d say I intellectually and constitutionally happily welcome the protesters,” said Sasse.
People seemed to disagree with a lot of his political views and votes, which made him one of the most conservative senators in the United States Senate for the whole time he was in Washington.
Before taking questions, he tried to get ahead of some of them.
“Whatever position you’ve had on federal policy or political issues don’t define who you are and don’t define who I am,” said Sasse.
After that, Sasse participated in three separate forums where he was questioned not just about his academic ties to the U.F. but also about his opposition to homosexual marriage and abortion.
“I believe in creating a culture and a community of inclusivity. So that’s the first thing to say, everybody has infinite worth,” said Sasse.
Also, the senator made it clear that he would not limit academic freedom, no matter what the political beliefs of faculty members were.
“What happens is not indoctrination. What happens in a classroom is discovery or learning,” said Sasse.
The Board of Trustees of the University of Florida is likely going to vote on whether or not to hire Sasse the following month.