Last week, TheBlaze reported the story of a Florida Atlantic University (FAU) junior, Ryan Rotela, who issued a complaint about a professor, Dr. Deandre Poole, who had forced students to write “Jesus” on a piece of paper, drop the paper on the floor, and stomp on it. Rotela refused to participate in the act and went on to voice a complaint about the exercise with Poole’s supervisor. The student was then suspended from the intercultural communications class.
TheBlaze went on to report that Fox News’ Todd Starnes added additional context to the story explaining that Rotela was initially accused of violating the student code of conduct after the official complaint was made.
The University reportedly told the Florida CBS affiliate WPEC-TV:
“Faculty and students at academic institutions pursue knowledge and engage in open discourse. While at times the topics discussed may be sensitive, a university environment is a venue for such dialogue and debate.”
Well it didn’t take long for this story to gain national attention and with that attention came a formal apology from FAU and an expunging of Rotela’s record. “One for the good guys,” Glenn said on radio this morning. “Florida Atlantic University has now issued a formal apology to a student that was facing academic charges that he complained about a professor who ordered the class to write the name ‘Jesus’ on pieces of paper and then stomp on the paper.”
Rotela, who was removed from class, ordered not to contact fellow students, and faced possible suspension or expulsion pending a student hearing, has now received an apology from the FAU Dean of Students Cory King and will be able to return to another section of the course not taught by Poole. Additionally, Rotela’s attorney stated that “there will be no punishment” and the school is “wiping the record clean” for Rotela.
While justice has certainly prevailed for Rotela, it is unclear what repercussions, if any, the professor will face. “What happens to the professor,” Glenn asked. “Does the professor just go on? You can say just make pieces of paper?”
According to the lesson plan, the objective of the assignment was to: Have students write the name Jesus in letters on a big piece of paper. Ask the students to stand up and put the paper on the floor in front of them with the name facing up. Ask the students to think about it for a moment; after a brief period of silence, instruct them to step on the paper. Most will hesitate. Ask why they can’t step on the paper. Discuss the importance of symbols in culture.
“That is not a symbol. [Jesus] is not a symbol,” Glenn said. “[Dean] King says it was ‘obvious the lesson caused hurt and pain within the community and within the university’s population. As a result, we feel it necessary to no longer offer this assignment or activity.’”
“Ya think,” Glenn asked.
In response to the overwhelming public support Rotela received, his attorney said, “When we stand together, we win.”
If you consider the outcry that would have surrounded this story if students were asked to stomp on, say, a piece of paper that said ‘Mohammed’, the apology issued to Rotela seems like a non-apology apology.
“Well, we better stand pretty darn soon,” Glenn concluded.