Protesters disrupt Sen. Sasse’s public appearances at U. Florida

Sen. Ben Sasse, R - Neb.
Sen. Ben Sasse, R - Neb.
Published: Oct. 10, 2022 at 5:11 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 10, 2022 at 5:31 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

OMAHA — Hundreds of student protesters disrupted campus forums Monday with the U.S. senator from Nebraska who is the sole presidential finalist at the University of Florida.

Sen. Ben Sasse made a joke at one point about the protesters, saying, “They have good rhythm,” the Independent Florida Alligator student newspaper reported.

Reporters tweeted videos from outside the meeting with Sasse, showing students at the university’s Emerson Alumni Hall chanting, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Ben Sasse has got to go.”

His question-and-answer session with students was cut short by 15 minutes, and a session with staff ended 30 minutes early, multiple news outlets in Gainesville reported.

Sasse held the staff session by videoconference from a remote location after the student protesters swamped the room he was speaking in, Florida officials told the Alligator.

Some of about 300 protesters told the Tampa Bay Times they were upset about his opposition to same-sex marriage and concerned about his willingness to protect LGBTQ student rights.

Others said they wanted transparency restored to the search process for Florida’s presidential search. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a law that keeps the names of other applicants secret if they are not a finalist.

Florida professors peppered Sasse with questions about his push as president of Midland University in Fremont, Nebraska, to remove tenure from Midland professors, the Times reported.

Sasse told faculty he would defend tenure in Florida because he sees the need to retain it as a recruitment tool. He also said he supported and affirmed people in the LGBTQ community. His next interview on campus is Nov. 1, with the Board of Trustees.

Sasse, a Republican, has told people in his orbit that he plans to resign his seat in late November or early December if he is chosen by the Florida Board of Trustees as the university’s next president.

The governor would appoint Sasse’s replacement because the resignation could come less than 60 days before the November statewide general election or more than 60 days before the next.

The governor has up to 45 days after the vacancy to fill the position. The new appointee would serve until Jan. 3, 2025, according to the Nebraska Secretary of State’s Office.

An election to fill the remaining two years of Sasse’s term would be held in 2024, the same year that U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer’s seat is on the ballot again.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts has said if he wants the job, he would apply for the position and let his successor make the pick.

At the Governor’s 6th Annual Steak Fry in Nebraska City on Sunday, one of two speakers, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said he’d like to have Ricketts join him in the Senate.

“Pete, I hope you’ll think about, sit down with your family and pray on it, and if that opportunity comes, maybe you could take the competency and the caring and the conservatism you’ve demonstrated here in Nebraska, and bring it to help us in Washington,” Graham said.

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., a friend of Sasse’s in the Senate and a favorite potential vice presidential pick of many conservatives in 2024, did not address the elephant in the room.

This story was written by Aaron Sanderford with