It only took a nationwide outcry for Florida Atlantic University to realize that it was out of line when it suspended a student who was upset when a professor told his class to write Jesus’ name on a sheet of paper and stomp on it.
It only took another national outcry for university officials to realize they were abusing their authority by issuing a phony apology and then trying to bring academic charges against the student.
It finally took alleged threats to the professor’s physical safety for university officials to realize that the professor shouldn’t be on campus any more.
And still they got the wrong message.
When Deandre Poole, who is also vice chairman of the local Democratic Party, gave his class an assignment to stomp on Jesus’ name, one student, Ryan Rotela, refused and reported Poole’s assignment to his bosses.
In apparent retaliation, Rotela, a Mormon, was suspended from the class.
Once the story went viral, outraged parents, readers and other people began flooding the university with complaints.
Still, the university defended Poole’s anti-Christian assignment. The university issued a half-baked “apology” but still tried to bring up Rotela on academic charges for going public with his story.
When they were called on that by Rotela’s lawyer, officials dropped the charges and gave a real apology to Rotela, his lawyer said.
Last week, the university finally took action against the teacher, suspending him with pay. According to the press release, however, the reason wasn’t because of the assignment itself but because Poole had received threats and racist messages since his anti-Christian bigotry became public knowledge. Supposedly he’s been put on leave for his safety.
All along the way, the university has favored Poole and his classroom assignment, and officials have been dragged toward the realization that not everyone agrees with their leftist agenda.
Regardless of whether Poole received any sort of threats, he should have been removed from his teaching post at least temporarily because of his anti-Christian bigotry that has no place on a university campus.
The leftists are still taking away the wrong lesson from all of this. It seems pretty clear they feel that they only need to “go along to get along” if they’re under pressure or some sort of threat, which is the tactic the Left regularly employs against conservatives and what the university was trying to do to Rotela by first suspending him then bringing him up to face academic charges.
The leftists still don’t think Poole did anything wrong. In fact, Poole doesn’t think he did anything wrong and blames the whole controversy on Rotela.
Poole finally spoke up in an interview with InsideHigherEd.com, and he denies that Rotela was suspended for not participating in the assignment, but says Rotela came to him after class and with a balled fist said he wanted to hit Poole. Poole says he called campus security, and that’s why Rotela was suspended.
Then Poole goes on to “clarify” that the assignment wasn’t to “stomp” on Jesus’ name but only to “step” on it. Depends what the definition of “is” is, hmm?
Poole claims to be a Christian and says he was just an innocent in all this madness: “My safety has been in question. There are churches that want to march against me. There are people calling on the university to fire me. And it’s all for doing my job. I was doing my job.”
If Poole did indeed get threats in his email or voicemail (and he’s not making it up), it’s just instant karma, and I sincerely doubt anyone would ever act on those threats. According to Poole, the lesson was supposed to inspire a discussion of feelings and teach the power of symbols through emotional impact.
As it turns out, that’s exactly what happened, just with a larger audience than one classroom full of impressionable kids.
Sounds like Poole isn’t happy with the direction of the “conversation” he started. The lesson, by the way, has been banned by campus officials, just in case other teachers were thinking of using it.
The professor needs to learn to practice what he preaches, and it’s shameful that it took literally thousands of angry voices from across the country for a supposed educator to even begin to comprehend that.