Recently, the administration at Florida Atlantic University issued an apology for an offensive incident involving one of its faculty members. The professor involved, Dr. Deandre Poole in the School of Communications and Media Studies, was placed on administrative leave for the rest of the semester, after a protest ensued regarding an activity that took place in his classroom.
The incident took place last month in Dr. Poole’s Intercultural Communications Class. Students were asked to write the name “Jesus” on a piece of paper, fold it up and stomp on it. One of the students, a junior who identified himself as a Mormon, refused to participate in the exercise on the basis of his religious beliefs. When he protested to Dr. Poole’s supervisor, he was told that he was suspended from the class.
Soon thereafter, Bill Donohue wrote directly to Dr. Poole, asking him why he didn’t invite students to write the name “Obama” on a piece of paper, instead of “Jesus,”and then have them stomp on that.
In his letter, Donohue wrote:
The assignment you gave asking students to stomp on a piece of paper with the word “Jesus” on it was reportedly an exercise in the cultural meaning of symbols taken from the textbook, “Intercultural Communications: A Contextual Approach,” 5th edition. But the word “Jesus” is never mentioned in the textbook, so that was your call. You could have asked them to stomp on the word “Obama,” but that may have made you feel uncomfortable given your activist role in the Democratic Party and the pro-Obama book you are currently writing. Get the point?
In a press release, Donohue provided Poole’s e-mail address so that Catholic League members could relay their concerns.
Included in the university administration’s apology was a statement that no protesting student would suffer any sanctions. The Catholic League is happy with the outcome, and is grateful that its subscribers helped to bring it about.