My recent Education Next article about the leadership styles of college presidents and what they might bring to the American political scene included Ben Sasse, the former senator who is now president of the University of Florida. Here is a letter from Sasse:
I will not tiptoe around this simple fact: What Hamas did is evil and there is no defense for terrorism. This shouldn't be hard. Sadly, too many people in elite academia have been so weakened by their moral confusion that, when they see videos of raped women, hear of a beheaded baby, or learn of a grandmother murdered in her home, the first reaction of some is to "provide context," or try to blame the raped women, beheaded baby, or murdered grandmother. In other grotesque cases, they express simple support for the terrorists.
This thinking isn't just wrong, it's sickening. It's dehumanizing. It is beneath people called to educate our next generation of Americans. I'm proud to say I haven't seen examples of that here at UF, either from our faculty or our student body.
As for us, our educational mission here begins with the recognition and explicit acknowledgment of human dignity—the same human dignity that Hamas's terrorists openly scorn. Every single life matters. We are committed to that truth. We will tell that truth.
In the coming days, it is possible that anti-Israel protests will come to UF's campus. I have told our police chief and administration that this university always has two foundational commitments: we will protect our students and we will protect speech. This is always true: our Constitution protects the rights of people to make abject idiots of themselves.
But we also want to be clear about this: We will protect our Jewish students from violence....