Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse gets earful from students at University of Florida forums

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – The University of Florida hosted panels on Monday afternoon with Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, who is hoping to become the school’s next president.

Students went to Emerson Hall to voice their concerns about Sasse, which led to disruptions in the three scheduled forums.

One point of concern for many students was Sasse’s stance on same-sex marriage and other LGBTQ matters.

In 2015, Sasse issued a statement regarding the legalization of gay marriage in the U.S.

“Today’s ruling is a disappointment to Nebraskans who understand that marriage brings a wife and husband together so their children can have a mom and dad,” he said in the statement.  “The Supreme Court once again overstepped its Constitutional role by acting as a super-legislature and imposing its own definition of marriage on the American people rather than allowing voters to decide in the states.”

In the first panel, with faculty members, Sasse fielded questions regarding LGBTQ matters, climate change and the move from politics to education.

Sasse said that it would be “appealing” to step away from politics.

“In a polarized time, big pieces of my job are not always that appealing right now because the Senate is not that productive of an institution,” he said.  “I get to sit on the Intelligence Committee, and that part is pretty satisfying and fulfilling, but a lot of what happens on the floor of the Senate is political screaming and not that interesting most of the time. And so, having a chance to step back from politics is, frankly, quite appealing.”

Several posts on social media show students filling Emerson Hall, holding signs and chanting.

Those chants could be heard in a livestream of the second forum as students gathered outside of the room where the panel was held.

Despite the interruption, Sasse said those students had every right to protest.

According to ABC affiliate WCJB, the third forum was delayed and livestreamed from an unknown location with no audience.

A labor union representing graduate employees at the university later posted a video of Sasse leaving campus in a police cruiser.

In the background, someone can be heard saying, “We don’t want you here.”

Last week, the university announced that Sasse was the lone finalist for the school’s next president.

SEE ALSO: Sen. Ben Sasse likely to lead University of Florida

Before he was elected to the Senate in 2014, Sasse was president of Midland University in Fremont.

The Republican began his political career as a darling of the Tea Party, basing his 2014 campaign on his opposition to the Affordable Care Act.

He garnered national attention in 2016, when he repeatedly criticized then-candidate Donald Trump.

SEE ALSO: Gov. Pete Ricketts says he won’t appoint himself if Sen. Ben Sasse resigns

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