Decision whether to use 'Jesus Stomp' assignment is up to faculty

Univ leaders create "crisis" training for faculty

BOCA RATON, Fla. - There have been major changes at Florida Atlantic University since the 'Jesus Stomp' assignment made headlines.

Former president Mary Jane Saunders stepped down from her job, and the professor who used the controversial exercise was reinstated.

Now school leaders are answering questions on what was learned from the ordeal.

"How do we deal with sensitive issues? How do we deal with academic freedom, because this is where we're supposed to enjoy it, and at the same time balance that with responsibility," said Interim Dean Heather Coltman at the College of Arts and Letters.

Last Spring a student complained when a professor at the FAU Davie campus asked the class to write the letters J-E-S-U-S on a piece of paper and contemplate stepping on it. That complaint started a firestorm that forced the professor on paid administrative leave, and even prompted Governor Rick Scott to become involved.

Technically the  'Jesus Stomp' exercise is allowed back in the classroom, but that doesn't mean faculty will use it.

"People will think twice about using that particular exercise in that setting, although there have been faculty who say they want to use it just to make a point," said professor Tim Lenz.

In a letter to the State University System, FAU's provost outlined extensive training for faculty come fall. It will focus on how to deal with controversy while respecting academic freedom.

"I thought it was a sensitive statement that reflected the university's responsibility to provide a safe environment and one where students will feel free to comment in class.

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