Politics

‘This Is the Most Jewish University in the Country’

Ben Sasse, President of the University of Florida, spoke alongside Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) at the University of Florida on Wednesday, making it clear that the university will not tolerate unruly pro-Hamas, anti-Israel protesters who break the rules, emphasizing that they stand with the Jewish community.

Sasse offered “four simple messages” during his remarks, first telling the Floridians who pay their bills that the “University of Florida will always uphold speech and assembly rights, and we will also always follow the law.”

“Too much of higher education has been captured by a lot of nonsense over the course of the last weeks, and that won’t happen at the University of Florida,” he assured taxpayers.

Sasse thanked law enforcement officers who have “kept things peaceful,” emphasizing that their goal has “not been to arrest.”

“It has been to help people get into compliance with the law. And what you have done in the face of being spit on, being shouted at with profanities, has been amazing. The professionalism of our law enforcement is a model for lots and lots of people across the country,” he said, before offering a message to the protesters.

“You have heard us say this again and again. You have a constitutional right to protest, and we will protect that. But anyone who crosses the line with prohibited actions will face the consequences,” he warned.

“This is a big university where not everyone is going to agree. We have 86,000 souls on this campus, and we will treat each other with respect,” he said, making it clear that commencement ceremonies will not and have not been disrupted by unlawful protesters.

“The University of Florida is not filled with angry people, and it’s been wonderful to see a lot of moms have tears streaming down their cheeks as we were able to hold commencements over the course of the last week. And that’s because of the fortitude and professionalism in particular of our law enforcement,” he said before offering a final message to Jewish students.

“UF is proud to be home to the most Jewish students anywhere in the country. This is the most Jewish university in the country, and it is great to be a Jewish gator,” Sasse said.

“I want all of our students to feel safe. But more than the subjective feeling, I want our students to BE safe. And that is true today, and we’re glad to have you, and we’re excited to celebrate a big future together. Go Gators,” he added.

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His remarks come on the heels of the university quashing an attempted encampment which DeSantis said lasted mere minutes. Sasse also released a statement at the time following the arrest of unruly protesters, stating in part, “This is not complicated: The University of Florida is not a daycare, and we do not treat protesters like children — they knew the rules, they broke the rules, and they’ll face the consequences.”

Speaking at the same event, DeSantis mocked the protesters chanting in the background, noting that he conveniently did not hear such protests and outrage at the campus after the October 7 Hamas attack.

“I’m sure the protestors were all very upset at the fact that Hamas went into Israeli communities and baked babies in ovens, raped women, assassinated elderly people in very brutal ways,” DeSantis said.

“I’m sure they were very upset about that – oh no, they weren’t. That’s right, they didn’t care about that. They were completely fine with those massacres happening and they had no concern about that,” he said, contrasting how Florida universities have handled the protests compared to other places such as Columbia University.

RELATED VIDEO — Insane! Columbia University Protesters Smash Windows, Barricade Themselves Inside Building:

Jessica Schwalb via Storyful

DeSantis, “If you look around the country, you have a lot of elite colleges and universities that have allowed themselves to become overrun with encampments, graffiti, as well as a lot of really nasty antisemitism. At Columbia, pro-Hamas activists storm buildings, took cleaning staff hostage, and destroyed iconic academic halls. At UCLA, Jewish students were barred from entering buildings on campus by pro-Hamas activists. At Portland State, the library was taken over and subsequently trashed by vagrants who weren’t even students of the university to begin with. And we see some of the chants that are done at these universities, such as from the river to the sea, some are saying we don’t want no two state, we take it all. And you know, part of it is, you know, people can kind of say what they want, but when you’re talking about from the river to the sea, you’re essentially saying you want a second holocaust, that you want to wipe Israel off the map. And that’s what Hamas stands for.”



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