UF Faculty Senate seeks vote of no confidence for new president

by | Oct 24, 2022

  • The University of Florida (UF) Faculty Senate agreed to hold an emergency meeting to potentially adopt a vote of no confidence on incoming president Ben Sasse
  • Sasse, a Republican Senator, drew student protests upon the announcement of his recommendation by the search committee over his political views 
  • Protestors additionally raised criticism of a new state law that allowed UF to shield the names of applicants, which the Faculty Senate will also hold a referendum on
  • The Senate Faculty President states that she is unsure what a successful vote of no confidence would mean for Sasse’s standing as the recommended candidate

The University of Florida (UF) Faculty Senate will hold an emergency meeting on Thursday to potentially adopt a vote of no confidence for incoming university president Ben Sasse.

Sasse, a Republican Senator from Nebraska, was recommended by the UF Presidential Search Committees earlier this month to become the school’s 13th President.

Upon the announcement, students at the university organized various protests over Sasse’s political views and his voting record while in Congress. According to Axios, detractors demanded that Sasse decline the job.

Protestors also drew criticism over a new state law that allows for public-records exemptions on information that identifies applicants for university administrative positions until the end of searches.

In UF’s search, Sasse is the only publicly known candidate, with the school withholding the name of 12 additional applicants that reached the interview stage.

Now, Faculty Senate will consider a vote of no confidence on both Sasse and the presidential search process that selected him, according to The Independent Florida Alligator, the school’s student publication.

The group will hold an emergency meeting to debate, and if necessary, approve a motion of no confidence in the process of selecting the university’s 13th president.

Notably, The Alligator reports that the Faculty Senate President stated that she was unsure what an adopted vote of no confidence would mean for Sasse’s standing as the search committee’s recommendation.

Further, a vote of no confidence on the law itself is unlikely to be amended based on a faculty vote.

On Thursday, Sasse appeared before UF staff and faculty for questioning, where he reaffirmed his commitment to providing all students with high-impact learning experiences.

“The last three to five to seven years feel like there’s kind of a trajectory here that is almost unrivaled in the country, and yet nobody here feels fat and happy. It feels like people are still incredibly entrepreneurial and ambitious about doing more great things for big broad populations,” said Sasse. “I think you all know you have an incredibly special institution, but sometimes it takes an outsider’s eyes to come and see and refresh what is incredibly special.”

Sasse has a history in academia, earning a Ph.D. from Yale University and a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University. Sasse also spent five years as the president of Midland University, a small private school in Fremont, Nebraska.

“This is right for the University of Florida, right for the state of Florida, and right for the Sasse family,” said Rahul Patel, chair of the Presidential Search Committee. “Ben brings intellectual curiosity, a belief in the power and potential of American universities, and an unmatched track record of leadership spanning higher education, government, and the private sector.”

The university’s nationwide search for a successor to the outgoing Ken Fuchs drew a wide range of candidates. UF additionally states that of the considered candidates, nine were sitting presidents at major research universities, with seven being from AAU universities.


  1. John

    It’s not surprising to see UF’s students and faculty respond to having a right winged republican as president. The secrecy law that was used keep his name quite until he was selected is just another trick by republicans to install Sasse. May his tenure at UF be short and rocky. Go Gators!

    • Tom

      Your ignorance is showing. Best to leave these discussions to the grownups.

  2. Robert

    It’s not surprising to see that the “intolerant left” desires NO ONE other than a left winged socialist as president. If there REALLY are secrecy laws in place to keep conservatives quiet, it’s 100% the fault of the INTOLERANT Democrats who believe NO ONE with opposing views are allowed to do anything. We must ALL fight this bigoted tyranny at EVERY turn ! Go Gators !

  3. Sean P. Lewis

    Ben Sasse is perhaps the most milquetoast Republican in the Senate who isn’t expressly pro-abortion like Susan Collins or Lisa Murkowski, and yet the UF activist gang is reacting to his incoming presidency like they’re the government of South Carolina after hearing Abraham Lincoln is going to be president. May their firing upon Fort Sumter also be their defeat at Appomattox.

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