U of Florida Faculty Senate Votes No Confidence in Process that Selected Sen. Sasse as President

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tags: Ben Sasse, University of Florida

Days before the likely appointment of U.S. Sen. Benjamin E. Sasse as the next president of the University of Florida, the institution’s Faculty Senate on Thursday voted no confidence in the selection process that ended with him as the sole finalist.

Florida’s Board of Trustees will formally interview Sasse, Republican of Nebraska, on Tuesday and vote on his appointment.

The faculty group’s resolution, which passed by a vote of 67 to 15, took aim at Florida’s presidential-search committee and its secretive selection of Sasse this month. The search process “has undermined the trust and confidence of the University of Florida Faculty Senate in the selection of the sole finalist Dr. Ben Sasse,” the resolution says.

When the presidential-search committee’s unanimous approval of Sasse was announced, the selection spurred controversy for its lack of transparency: The other finalists were not named due to the Sunshine State’s new law that allows public colleges to preserve the anonymity of presidential candidates.

The Faculty Senate’s resolution states that it lacks confidence because the selection process prevented the faculty from being informed of other candidates. The resolution also states: “The next president should come already equipped to lead an institution of this caliber rather than aiming to learn on the job. Anything less will result in a lack of faith in leadership.”

Faculty members voted on the resolution following a discussion that became heated at times.

Presiding over the vote was the Faculty Senate’s chair, Amanda J. Phalin, a senior lecturer in the university’s business school who has repeatedly voiced strong support for Sasse’s appointment.

Before the vote took place, Lisa K. Lundy, a search-committee member and professor of agricultural education and communication, spoke to the Senate about her role in the process.

“I love our students, and I want to see this university be the best it can be — that was my motivation” to serve on the committee, Lundy said. “I didn’t have any motivation to choose a certain candidate, and I was never encouraged to choose a certain candidate along the way.”

Read entire article at Chronicle of Higher Education