Until last week, few people outside of Florida had head of Florida Atlantic University. That changed when a student, Ryan Rotela, reported that he had been suspended because he refused to accept his teacher’s instruction to students to write Jesus’s name on a piece of paper and then to stomp on it. Although Rotela stated that he had been suspended, FAU initially denied that charge. The next day, however, came news that FAU had initiated a formal disciplinary action against Rotela, accusing him of everything from talking back to the professor to threatening his physical safety.
Now, Florida Governor Rick Scott has stepped into the fray, asking that the state university system chancellor, who overseas FAU, investigate precisely what happened in Prof. Poole’s question. In a letter to Chancellor Frank Brogan, Scott wrote that,
As we enter the week memorializing the events of Christ’s passion, this incident gave me great concern over the lessons we are teaching our students. The professor’s lesson was offensive, and even intolerant, to Christians and those of all faiths who deserve to be respected as Americans entitled to religious freedom.
FAU’s Senior Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Charles Brown, has since issued a groveling formal apology. He also states that Poole is not officially affiliated with the university; that the classroom exercise violated the school’s obligation to use academic freedom with sensitivity and respect; that the school will never again use the textbook that proposed the fatal exercise; and that, contrary to yesterday’s report, FAU has not taken any action against Rotela: