What is going on at Florida Atlantic University? The university has come under fire for its handling of one of its students. The student protested a class assignment in which he was told to stomp on a piece of paper with the word "Jesus" written on it. He refused. And what was the first course of action by the university? To go after the professor? No... it was to attack the student.
As noted at BizPac Review, the controversy arose when FAU student Ryan Rotela was given an assignment in his intercultural communications class. When Rotela said that the task offended his religious beliefs, rather than reprimand the teacher, the school when after Rotela.
In what was seen as a stunning development, the university appeared to be punishing Rotela after he drew attention to the controversial classroom assignment. Rotella was informed earlier Monday that he was being brought up on academic charges and could no longer attend class.
The charges leveled against Rotela by Associate Dean Rozalia Williams included violating the student code of conduct, acts of verbal, written or physical abuse, and threats, intimidation, harassment, coercion or other conduct that threaten the health, safety or welfare of any person.
“In the interim, you may not attend class or contact any of the students involved in this matter – verbally or electronically – or by any other means,” Williams wrote.
However, those actions have backfired, and now the university is backpedaling.
As Todd Starnes writes for Fox News, FAU has now issued a formal apology.
“There will be no punishment,” said Hiram Sasser, Rotela’s attorney. “They are wiping the record clean for Ryan. They are reinstating him for a plan to complete the course without that professor.”
Sasser, the director of litigation for the Liberty Institute, told Fox News that the university was deeply apologetic.
“The university apologized profusely,” Sasser said. “One of the university officials told us lots of people were offended by the assignment and they were very sorry about that.”
And just who is this professor? His name is Deandre Poole. He is untenured at FAU, but in addition to teaching, Poole also serves as the vice chairman of the Palm Beach County Democratic Party.
Interesting... whenever a conservative is in the media spotlight, the fact that he or she is a Republican activist or legislator is ALWAYS highlighted. Where's the similar scrutiny and publicity for Poole?
The Christian Post quotes Rotela as saying, "Anytime you stomp on something it shows that you believe that something has no value … So if you were to stomp on the word Jesus, it says that the word has no value."
Poole said that the exercise was meant to encourage debate. However, Rotela told WPEC that the whole incident was "unprofessional."
"I said to the professor, 'With all due respect to your authority as a professor, I do not believe what you told us to do was appropriate," said Rotela.
What is going on in society? The Christian Post rightful points out a comment by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee who questioned, "[Would] any program at FAU have allowed 'Muhammad' to be written on the paper and stomped instead?" I'm sure we all know the answer to that question.