A former aide said Thursday that Republican Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse is leaving Congress “to seek another opportunity in higher education.”
Prior to his 2014 election to the Senate, Sasse served as president of Midland University in Fremont, Nebraska. He earned a degree from Yale University and served as assistant secretary of health and human services under the administration of George W. Bush. In 2020, Sasse won reelection by 38 points.
Ian Swanson, the Nebraska journalist who first disclosed Sasse’s impending retirement, worked in his office from 2018 to 21.
🚨BREAKING on @kfabnews: @SenSasse will imminently announce his intent to resign from the U.S. Senate to pursue another opportunity in higher education. While the process could take a bit, the announcements are expected "imminently".
— Ian M. Swanson (@IanMSwanson) October 6, 2022
In the wake of the January 6 Capitol riot, Sasse was one of seven Republican senators who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump. Following threats from the Nebraska GOP to reprimand him, he adopted a combative stance, arguing that politics “isn’t about the weird worship of one dude.”
Sasse was one of a number of senators who called for an inquiry into Pornhub and its parent company, MindGeek, in response to claims that the smut behemoth benefited off child rape movies. Visa and Mastercard halted site payments in response to the news.
Thursday, the University of Florida announced that its presidential search committee will endorse Sasse as the lone contender for the position of the institution’s next president.
“Ben brings intellectual curiosity, a belief in the power and potential of American universities, and an unmatched track record of leadership spanning higher education, government and the private sector,” search committee chairman Rahul Patel said in a statement.
In a May Atlantic opinion piece, Sasse, a vocal opponent of President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, said that institutions should broaden their offerings.
“We need dozens of new models that allow students to move from the world of real work into the classroom and back, and forth, again and again. Some students should still immerse themselves in college, using a traditional eight-semester model. Some students will thrive if they work and learn at the same time. Some students will choose to travel and come back to school, or to learn on the road. Some students will opt for project-driven approaches that yield a marketable credential,” he wrote.
Sasse described the University of Florida as “the most interesting university in America right now” in a statement.
“I’m delighted to be in conversation with the leadership of this special community about how we might together build a vision for UF to be the nation’s most-dynamic, bold, future-oriented university,” he said.