The University of Florida’s Faculty Senate on Thursday passed a resolution saying members have no confidence in a presidential search process that led to U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse being the sole finalist to lead the university.
The resolution came days before Sasse is slated to be interviewed by the university’s Board of Trustees.
A search committee on Oct. 6 named Sasse, a Nebraska Republican, as the only finalist to replace outgoing President Kent Fuchs.
The trustees will meet Tuesday to conduct the interview and consider approving Sasse, who formerly served as president of Midland University, a small private school in Nebraska.
The UF Faculty Senate’s no-confidence vote pertained to the search process and not Sasse as a candidate, although numerous faculty members on Thursday expressed reservations about Sasse potentially getting the job.
Many also voiced concerns about the search committee recommending only one candidate. The United Faculty of Florida union on Monday announced that it had filed a public-records request to try to get information about a group of reportedly undisclosed finalists.
Sasse’s selection came after a new state law allowed the search to be conducted in private.
The law, approved by the Legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis this year, created a public-records exemption for information that could identify applicants until near the end of searches, when information about finalists can be released.
Information about other applicants remains shielded under the law. Meanwhile, Fuchs on Monday announced that the school will prohibit protests inside campus buildings ahead of Sasse’s interview with the trustees.
The move came after Sasse’s meetings this month with students and staff were interrupted by student protesters, at least in part because of Sasse’s positions on LGBTQ issues. If Sasse is approved by UF trustees, his selection ultimately would need approval from the state university system’s Board of Governors.