Proving that no good deed goes unpunished, Ryan Rotela, the young man who refused his teacher’s order to stomp on a paper with Jesus’ name written on it, is being brought up on academic charges accusing him of everything from violating the student code of conduct, to threats, harassment, and intimidation.
Ryan Rotela is (or was) a junior at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida, when he was suspended because he refused to write Jesus’ name on a paper taped to the ground and then stomp on Christ’s name. Dr. Deandre Poole, who was teaching Rotela’s Intercultural Communications class apparently got the idea from a an exercise in a book entitled Intercultural Communication: A Contextual Approach, 5th Edition.
According to Rotela, he politely approached Prof. Poole, identified himself as a devout Mormon, and refused to participate in the exercise. When Poole insisted, Rotela spoke to Poole’s supervisor, only to find himself suspended. When news first broke about Rotela’s suspension, the Florida Atlantic University issued a statement saying that “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.”
In an abrupt turnaround, the University is now bringing formal disciplinary charges against Rotela, accusing him of an endless laundry list of wrongdoing. According to a letter that Associate Dean Rozalia Williams wrote, Rotela is allegedly guilty of “violation of the student code of conduct, acts of verbal, written or physical abuse, threats, intimidation, harassment, coercion or other conduct which threaten the health, safety or welfare of any person.”
While the University investigates these charges, Rotela has been banned from campus, and is prohibited from having any contact whatsoever with potential witnesses. There is no indication that Prof. Poole is likewise being banned from contacting witnesses, most of whom happen to be students in his class and are dependent upon Poole for their grade.
The man who is really at the center of this affair – Prof. Poole – has not made any public statements. It is possible, however, to learn a bit about him from his official university bio and from a synopsis of the lesson to which Rotela objected. According to Poole’s online bio,
Deandre Poole teaches courses in intercultural communication, ethnicity and communication, leadership and communication, and organizational communication. His research focuses on the role mediated messages play in shaping individual attitudes and beliefs concerning issues of justice and inequality, and examines how leaders, organizations, and other influential authorities dominate and oppress marginalized groups of people. Currently, he is authoring the book, Obamamania: The Rise of a Mythical Hero, to be published by the Edwin Mellen Press. In addition to his academic pursuits, Dr. Poole is actively engaged in various community service projects throughout Palm Beach County.
If his book title is anything to go by, Poole’s hostility to Jesus may be explained by the title of his soon-to-be-published book: Obamamania: The Rise of a Mythical Hero. This local Democrat leader and molder of young minds may believe that Obama is the true deity – a socialist Godhead — making Poole’s classroom exercise an effort to demean any God figures other than Obama.
The other thing we know about Poole is that the description for the class he was teaching when he and Rotela clashed confirms Rotela’s claim that Poole asked students to deface Jesus’s name by stepping on it:
Have the students write the name JESUS in big letters on a 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.
Paul Kengor, a well-known writer and lecturer on traditional values, told Fox News Radio that he is unsurprised by the University’s aggressive attack against the core figure in Christianity:
Paul Kengor, the executive director of the Center for Vision and Values at Grove City College, told Fox News he’s not surprised by the classroom lesson.
“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.
Kengor said classes like the one at Florida Atlantic University demonstrate the contempt many public institutions hold for people of faith.
“It also reflects the rising confidence and aggression of the new secularists and atheists, especially at our sick and surreal modern universities,” he said.
The university did not explain why students were only instructed to write the name of Jesus – and not the name of Mohammed or another religious figure.
“Gee, I wonder if the instructor would dare do this with the name of Mohammed,” Kengor wondered.
We used to send our children off to college in the hopes that they would return as people educated in the highest values that our Western culture has to offer. Now, whether they’re at high school or college we just hope that they won’t be forced to assault the religious symbols that they hold dear, to abandon their values (as was the case with a teacher punished for opposing Planned Parenthood’s appearance at his high school), or suffer other incidents of attack and ridicule (such as being required to perform in a play advocating homosexuality and bestiality). Sadly, the Leftist takeover of America’s relentlessly Leftist institutions of so-called higher education is almost complete.