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Friday, February 03, 2023

Fuchs: Protesters who enter Emerson for Sasse’s Nov. interview may be disciplined

It’s a decades-old rule UF has laxly enforced, Fuchs said

<p>U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Nebraska, addresses students during a public forum Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. </p>

U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Nebraska, addresses students during a public forum Monday, Oct. 10, 2022.

Any protesters who enter Emerson Alumni Hall Nov. 1 during Sen. Ben Sasse's interview with the Board of Trustees may be subject to discipline under the Student Conduct Code, an email from UF President Kent Fuchs announced Monday.

Fuchs wrote the university would enforce a two-decade-old regulation prohibiting protests inside campus buildings. Fuchs noted one of UF's core values is to be a community that embraces openness to various viewpoints. 

“With this commitment comes an obligation to protect the rights of everyone in our community to speak and to hear,” Fuchs wrote.

In Fuchs’ characterization of the Oct. 10 protest of Sasse's forums of UF faculty, students and staff, the student protests disrupted Sasse's ability to fully represent himself and his views to the university community. 

The noise from the protesters made it difficult for those in the room and listening over the live stream to hear Sasse's comments, Fuchs wrote, forcing Sasse to relocate.

“As a result,” Fuchs wrote of the protest, “a planned staff forum in that space had to be moved online and was shortened. UF employees who traveled to the forum site did not get to hear Dr. Sasse speak in person, as many had planned to do.”

Earlier last week, UF spokesperson Cynthia Roldan didn’t answer questions about whether there’ll be heightened security on Nov. 1, in accordance with state statute 1004.055.

As of midday Monday, Roldan hasn’t provided an update on how the rule will be enforced.

Contact Christian at ccasale@alligator.org. Follow him on Twitter @vanityhack.

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Christian Casale

Christian is a fourth-year history major. In the past, he’s served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Valencia Voice. He now covers the University Administration for the Alligator. In his free time he likes reading and nodding along to Bruce Springsteen songs.


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