Dr. Deandre Poole, Florida Atlantic University professor in Jesus stomping controversy, put on leave

FAU says his safety 'has been compromised'

BOCA RATON, Fla. --The Florida Atlantic University professor who reportedly had students write the name "Jesus" in large letters on a piece of paper, put it on the floor and stomp on it has been placed on administrative leave for his safety, according to university officials.

As a result of the reaction to the "Jesus stomping" exercise in Dr. Deandre Poole's intercultural communications class, his personal safety is compromised, FAU said.

FAU said this decision will prevent further disruption to the day-to-day operations at the university.

"Dr. Poole will not teach any classes, conduct office hours, or be present at any of FAU's campuses or sites," officials said. "Alternate instructors have been assigned to teach Dr. Poole's classes. Students have been notified and classes will continue as scheduled."

State education officials took a closer look at FAU Wednesday after Gov. Rick Scott responded to the controversial classroom exercise. 

Poole is also the vice chairman of the Palm Beach County Democratic Party.

His exercise was part of a chapter dealing with the power of certain words. One student, a junior named Ryan Rotelas, said he refused to participate. 

While the university said Rotelas was never punished for his refusal, the student's lawyer said school officials told Rotelas he would be suspended. 

FAU officials have apologized and said the student will not be punished. They also stated the exercise will not be assigned again. 

Gov. Rick Scott wanted a detailed report from state university system Chancellor Frank Brogan regarding the incident.

"Whether the student was reprimanded or whether an apology was given is in many ways (inconsequential) to the larger issue of a professor's poor judgment," Scott stated in a letter to Brogan. "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."

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