Ben Sasse Resigns From Senate Ahead Of University Presidency

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Alexa Schwerha Contributor
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Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska formally resigned at Sunday in preparation for his new role as University of Florida (UF) president.

Sasse, who has served in the United States Senate since 2015, resigned in order to assume a new position as UF president. He was officially confirmed in his new role by the Florida Board of Governor’s on Nov. 9 and will begin his tenure on Feb. 6, which will last through 2028, according to his contract. (RELATED: Nebraska Governor Says He Wants Senate Seat Held By Retiring Ben Sasse)

Sasse announced his resignation in a Dec. 5 letter which outlined the terms of his departure from the legislature, KMEG reported.

“It has been a great honor to serve the people of Nebraska in the U.S. Senate these last eight years,” Sasse wrote. “I am confident that Governor-Elect Pillen will appoint someone who will serve the Nebraskans well in Washington.”

Former Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, who announced his intention to seek the appointment, is the frontrunner due to his financial support for Pillen, Nebraska political operatives previously told the Daily Caller. Ricketts gave $100,000 to Pillen, directly, and $1,275,000 to Conservative Nebraska, a political action committee which supported Pillen.

The appointee will fill the seat for 2 years ahead of a 2024 special election.

“Dr. Sasse stands ready to lead UF through a dynamic period in our history, and he has the right combination of experience and innovative thinking that will propel UF to the next level of leadership nationally and globally,” Mori Hosseini, chair of the Board of Trustees, said in a news release provided to the DCNF.

Students protested Sasse’s nomination and feared that his conservative ideology would classify with the institution.

On Oct. 10, nearly 300 students protested outside the President’s Ballroom in Emerson Alumni Hall as Sasse participated in a discussion during the appointment process, the student newspaper the Alligator reported. The noise from the protest reportedly made it difficult to hear inside the session and the conflict caused the university to invoke a policy prohibiting indoor protesting.

The policy had not been enforced in years, the Alligator reported. Students also attempted to impeach student body president Lauren Lamasterers, who voted in favor of Sasse’s appointment on Nov. 1, however the resolution failed, according to the Alligator.

“[W]hat I want is the students who graduate from the University of Florida to have wrestled with a whole bunch of different ideas that they didn’t already have when they got there, and they should come from all over the political and philosophical spectrum,” Sasse told NPR Wednesday. “Education, properly understood, isn’t primarily about transmitting information; it’s about learning how to humbly and meaningfully engage ideas you didn’t already hold.”

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