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Students protest Ben Sasse during University of Florida forums, Sasse defends their free speech rights

'What happens is not indoctrination. What happens in a classroom is discovery or learning'
Posted at 7:23 PM, Oct 10, 2022

The political world was shaken up in Nebraska and in Washington D.C. last week after news that U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, Republican from Nebraska, is expected to resignand take the job as president of the University of Florida.

Monday, he was on campus in Gainesville for his public job interview.

As Sasse took questions from students during a Monday afternoon forum, a large student-led protest appeared to break out outside the room. The livestream easily picked up the chants of “hey, hey, ho, ho, Ben Sasse has got to go.”

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.

It appeared many were upset at his politics and voting record, consistently one of the most conservative U.S. senators in his time 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.

Then in a trio of forums, Sasse was asked specific U.F. academic questions but was also grilled on his anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage stances.

“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.

The senator also maintained that, whatever the faculty members' politics are, he would allow academic freedom.

“What happens is not indoctrination. What happens in a classroom is discovery or learning,” said Sasse.

The University of Florida Board of Trustees are expected to vote on giving Sasse the job next month.

Watch the entire Q & A with university students below:

Dr. Ben Sasse press conference

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