The University of Florida will begin enforcing a decades-old ban on indoor protests following a raucous demonstration earlier this month against US Senator Ben Sasse’s selection as a finalist for the post of school president.
Current university president Kent Fuch said in a letter to the university community Monday that a protest inside a forum where Sasse was answering questions on Oct. 10 made it difficult to hear the Nebraska senator’s responses as protesters banged on windows. with fists. walls and furniture. Due to the demonstration involving 1000 protesters, the discussion had to be moved online and shortened.
While the university supports the First Amendment right to free speech, “with this commitment comes an obligation to protect the rights of everyone in our community to speak and hear,” Fuchs said.
The regulation against protests inside campus buildings has been on the books for two decades, but was not enforced in recent years because protesters “respected others and their rights to speak and listen,” Fuchs said.
The policy will be enforced next week when the school’s board of trustees meets to consider Sasse’s candidacy, and students who violate it may be subject to disciplinary action, Fuchs said.
Sasse, a Republican in his second term in the Senate, has been criticized by some at the school in Gainesville, Florida, for his opposition to same-sex marriage.
Sasse called the 2015 US Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage “a disappointment to Nebraskans who understand that marriage unites a wife and husband so that their children can have a mom and a dad.
It also declared unnecessary a bill protecting same-sex marriage that passed the US House of Representatives in July.
Asked at the University of Florida forum earlier this month if he opposes same-sex marriage, Sasse noted that it is now a national law ruled by the Supreme Court and that his goal is to create a “place of respect and inclusion for all. Gators”, referring to the school’s nickname.
Others question his qualifications to run such a large school with over 50,000 students and the secret selection process used to choose Sasse. A new Florida law allows universities to conduct much of the process outside of the state’s open meeting and public records laws.
Sasse, 50, was president of Midland University in Fremont, Nebraska, which has just over 1,600 students.