No doubt he’s got plenty of time for interviews now that, after a deluge of death threats, his university has decided to place him on leave.
The mid-March kerfuffle at Florida Atlantic University happened when the instructor, Dr. Deandre Poole, who taught an intercultural communications class, asked his students to write the word Jesus on a sheet of paper and then step on it. One Mormon student refused and was suspended by the university. Soon, outside protests came pouring in, including a scathing letter from Florida’s Republican governor Rick Scott. The school then apologized for both the disciplinary action and the professor’s exercise.
And what do we learn?
• Far from being a Jesus-mocking heathen, Poole is a lifelong church-going Christian and former Sunday-school teacher who describes himself as “very religious.”
• The student exercise, Poole says, involved stepping (not “stomping,” as Fox News and others alleged) on the sheet of paper.
• The exercise was meant to demonstrate that some students would feel inhibited about stepping on something that 15 seconds earlier had been a random, insignificant piece of paper. This would give everyone an opening to discuss symbols and their meaning.