University of Florida Bans Protesters Inside Next Sasse Vote

On October 6, Sasse was named the sole finalist in the search for a new leader at UF, a move that sparked an intense reaction from the student body. As Sasse defended his position on LGBTQ rights, including his opposition to a Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, and his views on faculty tenure, students chanted loudly from the crowded lobby outside from the room, waving signs telling him to “go back to Nebraska”. .”

Sasse pledged to create “a culture of inclusivity” at the university and “advance institutional protections for all students, faculty and staff” when asked about his past in politics.

“I obviously had to take a stand on many federal policies and political issues that don’t align with the views of everyone in this room — or everyone on this campus. But that’s just a small subset of who each of us is as a person,” Sasse said during an Oct. 10 meeting. “Whatever positions you’ve had on federal politics or political issues, they don’t define who you are, and they don’t define who I am.”

Anticipating a possible repeat of those protests, Fuchs signaled Monday that the University of Florida would “resume enforcement” of its permanent rule that prohibits protests inside campus buildings.

Although on the books for “at least two decades” according to Fuchs, the policy has not been used recently, even though the UF has hosted controversial speakers, including white nationalists. chef Richard Spencer in 2017.

“We haven’t enforced this policy in recent years because in the rare instances protesters have entered buildings, they have respected others and their rights to speak and hear,” Fuchs said Monday.

When university administrators vote on Sasse’s nomination Nov. 1, students protesting inside risk violating the school’s code of conduct, according to Fuchs. His message cited a school policy stating that students or faculty “who act intentionally to harm, interfere with, or obstruct orderly conduct, processes and functions” are “subject to appropriate disciplinary action by university authorities.” “.

Yet under Florida campus free speech laws, students are allowed to demonstrate on school grounds. The state’s campus free speech law allows protests as long as they take place in an outdoor common area and ‘the conduct is lawful and does not materially and substantially disrupt the operation’ of the university or the rights of others.

Before choosing Sasse as president, UF officials said the school search committee focused on a “dozen highly qualified and diverse candidates,” including nine serving presidents at major research universities. and seven from the Association of American Universities. But because of a new state law protecting presidential candidates in the eyes of the public, the identity of these candidates is unknown.

The United Faculty of Florida, the state’s university union, on Monday suggested taking legal action against the institution to pressure university leaders to release more information about the research.

“The faculty would have preferred someone qualified for the position, not a politically appointed person,” said Paul Ortiz, president of the UF chapter of the United Faculty of Florida and professor of history, on Monday. “Our students work too hard to get into this university for anyone to get president because of their political affiliation.”

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