The administration and the Board of Trustees of Rollins College, a liberal arts institution outside Orlando, Florida, recently stood by a professor who violated the religious liberty and free speech rights of one of her students. In a showdown with the Catholic League, it yielded within a week, and reinstated the suspended student.
This was a big victory, but it should never have gotten to the point that it did. An intolerant Muslim professor tried to run roughshod over an innocent Christian student and almost got away with it. The details of this story can be found on pp. 4-5.
It started when we learned that a Christian student confronted his Muslim professor about her contention that Jesus was not crucified. She further said his apostles did not believe he was divine. That is the Islamic interpretation. When the student challenged her, she got vindictive, failing him for “disrupting” her class.
This was just the beginning. Bill Donohue wrote a letter to the college president, Dr. Grant H. Cornwell (see p. 4) outlining his concerns. He called Donohue to defend himself, getting defensive and contentious. Donohue peppered him with questions, which he could not answer.
Then the media got involved, both locally and nationally. This was followed by a couple of emails sent by Allan E. Keen, chairman of the Board of Trustees. He proved to be just as evasive as Cornwell.
We didn’t back down. Donohue issued a pointed refutation of Keen’s argument, citing a news story in the Orlando Sentinel. He was told that the student wasn’t suspended for any altercation he had with his professor, but for making threats. Threats against whom? Donohue wanted to know.
The professor then accused the student of stalking her. Next, she contacted the public safety office about him. But when pressured to be specific—citing evidence of a threat—no one involved was able to do so.
Finally, after being pounded by critics, and beaten up in the press, Rollins decided to reinstate the student.
The Orlando Sentinel quoted what the president had to say about it. “Cornwell said he, the trustees and deans had received 10,000 emails,” most of which he said were “filled with hate.”
We have no pity on anyone who defends an indefensible assault on someone’s religious liberties and free speech rights, and is then called out for it. Those emails, we are proud to say, were a direct response to our plea: we listed Cornwell’s email address on our news releases, asking everyone to contact him. Our side exploded and the administration backed off. Justice was done. Hallelujah!