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University of Florida President’s Stand on Responding to Protests: “You Don’t Get to Take Over the Whole University”

University of Florida President Ben Sasse (Credits: CNN)

University of Florida President Ben Sasse addressed the ongoing pro-Palestinian protests on campus, emphasizing that while students have the right to peaceful protest and free speech, they cannot disrupt the entire university.

Sasse, a former senator, stressed that restrictions apply to time, place, and manner, and protesters cannot set up encampments, barricade themselves in buildings, or disrupt others’ events.

Ben Sasse (Credits: NBC News)

He reiterated that the university protects protesters’ rights and enforces rules, aiming to bring them into compliance rather than arresting them. Sasse noted that the university would not negotiate with the loudest protesters and commencement ceremonies have not been disrupted.

He criticized other universities for giving excessive attention to small, angry groups, which is not the approach at the University of Florida. Instead, the university supports free speech and assembly while maintaining order and respecting others’ rights.

Pro-Palestinian Protests (Credits: Winnipeg Free Press)

Pro-Palestinian protests have been occurring nationwide, resulting in arrests, canceled commencement ceremonies, and online classes. The demonstrations have garnered national attention, with protesters setting up campus encampments. Sasse’s stance emphasizes the balance between protecting free speech and maintaining a functioning academic environment.

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