Tags: fau | jesus | assignment | student

Florida School Sorry for Bizarre ‘Jesus-Stomping’ Assignment

Wednesday, 27 Mar 2013 05:42 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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The Florida college that punished a devout Mormon student for refusing a teacher’s order to write Jesus’ name on a piece of paper and stomp on it has bent over backwards to apologize, according to the student’s lawyer.

“They apologized profusely, they wiped [his] slate clean, they exonerated him,’’ Hiram Sasser, director of litigation at the Liberty Institute, told Newsmax TV’s “The Steve Malzberg Show.’’

Story continues below.

“They’re allowing him to complete the course under the supervision of a different professor.’’

The incident, which has shocked religious leaders coast to coast, occurred at Florida Atlantic University in Davie.

Witnesses said the instructor of “Intercultural Communications’’ told students to write "Jesus" in large letters on a sheet of paper, place it on the floor and stomp on it, then tell the class how they felt.

The assignment stunned junior Ryan Rotela, a devout Mormon, who refused the assignment and charged with violating the student code of conduct.

“Originally [the school] said it was a legitimate exercise,’’ Sasser said.

“Once the story became national and they realized exactly how offended everybody was by what was going on, they reversed course, they apologized.’’

The incident even roiled Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who fired off a letter to the chancellor of the state university system asking for a report on what happened and saying he was “deeply disappointed.’’

“Ryan and I had a phone conference with the governor yesterday . . . [He] was commending Ryan for his courage,’’ Sasser said.

“The governor wants to make sure that this type of thing doesn’t happen again at Florida public universities.’’

Sasser said he believed others besides Rotela were offended by the assignment.

“I guarantee that there are other people in Ryan’s class who were equally offended,’’ he said.

“But the problem is most people lack the courage to be able to stand up and say, no, I’m not going to participate in this and this is wrong and we’re going to expose this.

“Ryan demonstrates it just takes one person and then it takes like-minded folks from across the country standing in support of that person in order to affect change and that’s what happened here.’’

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