“Stomp Jesus” professor’s contract renewed at Florida Atlantic University

FAU professor Deandre Poole

Scott Travis from the Sun Sentinel reports, “Florida Atlantic University plans to keep Deandre Poole, the instructor whose controversial assignment about Jesus created a national firestorm. Poole, a non-tenured communications instructor, was placed on paid leave in late March after receiving death threats for an assignment that got dubbed ‘stomp on Jesus’ in the national media.”

Heather Coltman, interim dean of the College of Arts and Letters, stated, “We thought it was in the university’s best interest. We need experienced, qualified faculty members, and all things considered, we decided he would be a valuable asset to the college.” [Emphasis added]

During a class assignment on symbolism, Poole required students to write “J-E-S-U-S” on a piece of paper, place it on the floor and then step on it. The assignment angered FAU student Ryan Rotela, who complained to the administration. WDW – FL reported the following from Ryan Rotela’s response to the classroom assignment:

“I’m not going to be sitting in a class having my religious rights desecrated,” said student Ryan Rotela.

The assignment required Rotela and other classmates to write the name of Jesus on a piece of paper, place it on the floor, and then stomp on it.

A synopsis of the lesson plan in question, obtained by Fox News, states:

“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.”

Rotela told the instructor, Deandre Poole, that the assignment was insulting and offensive.

FAU initially defended the assignment but once it started receiving criticism in the national media, the school reversed course and apologized. It promised never to use the assignment again. That pledge alarmed faculty, who say administrators don’t make decisions about what coursework is taught. “My intent was not to tell faculty what they could or couldn’t do but to defuse the situation,” former President Mary Jane Saunders said.

Poole said he’s ecstatic to have his job back. He said people mistakenly believed the assignment was anti-Christian. He said he never used the word “stomp” and followed verbatim an assignment in a textbook written by a professor at a Christian college,” notes Travis.