Little did anyone know that a class assignment at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) could run so afoul!
FAU professor and Vice Chairman of the Palm Beach County Democratic Party, Deandre Poole, instructed her students to perform an exercise that involved stomping on sheets of paper that had “Jesus” written on them during a March 4 lecture. When FAU student Junior Ryan Rotelas (pictured), who is a devout Mormon, refused to participate in the lesson, the situation only exploded from there, reports The Daily Caller.
According to Rotelas, who has since hired an attorney, he was allegedly threatened with a litany of charges by the school involving acts of verbal, written or physical abuse; Rotelas was also banned from the class.
FAU has denied the young man’s accusations.
The controversial exercise came from an instructor’s manual that explains how certain words are impactful. The following is an excerpt from the assignment: “This exercise is a bit sensitive, but really drives home the point that even though symbols are arbitrary, they take on very strong and emotional meanings,” the exercise states. “Most will hesitate. Ask why they can’t step on the paper. Discuss the importance of symbols in culture.”
Not only has FAU issued two groveling apologies to all who were offended by Poole’s exercise, but Florida governor Rick Scott has also stepped into the controversy blasting FAU for being “intolerant to Christians.” The governor not only personally placed a call to Rotelas to commend his bravery, but he also tasked Florida’s public university system chancellor, Frank Brogan, with the job of ensuring that a lesson of this type “will not occur again.”
The video apology features Charles Brown, senior vice president for student affairs, who swears that the exercise is history and that no student will disciplined for their contrarian reactions.
A very triumphant Rotelas is obviously feeling pretty good about his stance against FAU, which is very apparent on his Facebook page.
Meanwhile, some are calling for Poole and others involved to face disciplinary action. Pastor Mark Boykin of Church of All Nations in Boca Raton said his church plans to hold a protest march on FAU’s campus at 11:30 a.m. April 4.
This is not the first religious controversy for FAU. Last year, some Jewish students received “eviction notices” on the doors of their dorms, which were posted by a group called “Students for Justice in Palestine.”