(CNN) — The University of Florida Board of Trustees unanimously approved Republican US Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska as the university's new president Tuesday in the face of faculty and student criticism over the secretive search process, his limited relevant experience and his past criticisms of same-sex marriage.Ahead of the vote, Sasse spoke to the board Tuesday and outlined his reasons for taking the job and his plans to position UF to succeed in what he called an age of technological disruption."I'm here rather than at some other school, or rather than trying to claw to stay in the United States Senate for decades, because I believe that this is the most interesting institution in the state that has the most happening right now, and is therefore the best positioned to help lead our country through a time of unprecedented change," Sasse told the board Tuesday.When asked about his plans related to LGBTQ faculty and students, Sasse said he expected that his positions would be the same as that of outgoing President Kent Fuchs.
He also declared his intention to adhere to "political celibacy," saying he would step down from all partisan activities."I'm not a partisan figure in this role," he said.The trustees approved Sasse's appointment by a 13-0 vote.
The Board of Governors meets November 10 for final approval."I am incredibly gratified by the engagement," Sasse said after the vote. "In a community this big, there is going to be a lot of diversity of opinion, and that is a good -- not a bad -- thing."The appointment is a sharp career shift for Sasse, a sitting senator who was elected in 2014 and was reelected to another six-year term just two years ago.