Florida University Apologizes for Jesus Stomping Lesson

Saturday, 23 Mar 2013 02:35 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Florida Atlantic University has posted an apology on the front page of its website for a recent class that had students write the name “Jesus” on a piece of paper and then stomp on it.

"This exercise will not be used again," states the apology, which could be seen on Saturday. "The University holds dear its core values. We sincerely apologize for any offense this caused. Florida Atlantic University respects all religions and welcomes people of all faiths, backgrounds and beliefs."

The classroom exercise was part of an Intercultural Communication course at the South Florida school, FAU officials acknowledged, noting that the incident has "attracted public attention and has aroused concern on the part of some individuals and groups."

School officials said the exercise was based on an example presented in the textbook "Intercultural Communication: A Contextual Approach, 5th Edition," written by James Neuliep, who is unaffiliated with FAU.

"The course is taught by a non-tenured instructor on an annual appointment," according to FAU. "Contrary to some media reports, no students were forced to take part in the exercise; the instructor told all of the students in the class that they could choose whether or not to participate."

Fox reported that FAU initially defended the lesson before issuing the apology. The network carried an interview with a Mormon student who refused to participate in the exercise.

“He had us all stand up and he said ‘stomp on it,’” the student, Ryan Rotela, explained. “I picked up the paper from the floor and put it right back on the table. I’m not going to be sitting in a class having my religious rights desecrated.

“Any time you stomp on something it shows you believe that it has no value,” he continued. “If you were to stomp on the word Jesus — it says the word has no value.”

The student also told Fox that he complained to teacher Deandre Poole's supervisor, and ended up suspended from the class, something that the university disputes.

"While we do not comment on personnel matters, and while student privacy laws prevent us from commenting on any specific student at the University, we can confirm that no student has been expelled, suspended or disciplined by the University as a result of any activity that took place during this class," FAU officials added.

Paul Kengor, the executive director of the Center for Vision and Values at Grove City College, told Fox that he was not surprised to hear that a university would offer such an offensive lesson in the first place.

“These are the new secular disciples of ‘diversity’ and ‘tolerance’ — empty buzzwords that make liberals and progressives feel good while they often refuse to tolerate and sometimes even assault traditional Christian and conservative beliefs,” Kengor said.

The 50-year-old FAU was the first public university in southeast Florida and the first in America designed for upper division students only. It has more than 30,000 freshmen, transfers and graduate students at sites throughout counties.

Kengor told Fox that classes like the one at Florida Atlantic University demonstrate the contempt many public institutions hold for people of faith.











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