Florida Atlantic University: Investigate Deandre Poole

According to a student there, Prof Poole tried to force student to blaspheme Jesus and punished him when he refused.

Academics are, fortunately, lily-livered cowards for the most part and succumb to pressure pretty easily when the press takes notice.  So if you contact the President there and demand that this alleged act of abuse be investigated and, if true, punished, they may respond.

  • S. Quinn

    Beyond outrageous. I hope the Alliance Defending Freedom gets involved ( they used to be called the Alliance Defense Fund). They have had great successes in cases like this.

  • http://joewetterling.com Joe Wetterling

    President Saunders is emailable at: president@fau.edu
    Let’s correct her on this, and do it in a way becoming Christians

  • MJMinNH

    Simple solution: Have all Christian students at FAU write the name Deandre Poole on a piece of paper and, en masse in the center of campus, stomp on the paper. Since this is just an intellectual exercise where sensitive themes must be discussed, there would be no reason for the professor to feel marginalized or for the students to be punished.

    • Vlad

      Do you think they would have guts stomping on a picture of Mohammed?

  • http://catholicunderthehood.com Fr. Seraphim Beshoner. TOR
    • CC

      I thought immediately of that as well!

  • deiseach

    C.S. Lewis is looking more and more prophetic; from “That Hideous Strength”:

    “Meanwhile, in the Objective Room, something like a crisis had developed. As soon as they arrived there Mark saw that the table had been drawn back. On the floor lay a crucifix, almost life-size, a work in the Spanish tradition, ghastly and realistic. “We have half an hour to pursue our exercises,” said Frost. Then he instructed Mark to trample on it and insult it in other ways.

    Now, whereas Jane had abandoned Christianity in early childhood, along with fairies and Santa Claus, Mark had never believed it at all. At this moment, therefore, it crossed his mind for the first time that there might conceivably be something in it. Frost, who was watching him carefully, knew perfectly well that this might be the result of the present experiment. But he had no choice. Whether he wished it or not, this sort of thing was part of the initiation.

    “But, look here,” said Mark.
    “What is it?” said Frost. “Pray be quick.”
    “This,” said Mark, “this is all surely a pure superstition.”
    “Well, if so, what is there objective about stamping on the face? Isn’t it just as subjective to spit on a thing like this as to worship it?”
    “That is superficial. If you had been brought up in a non-Christian society, you would not be asked to do this. Of course it is a superstition, but it is that particular superstition which has pressed upon our society for many centuries. It can be experimentally shown that it still forms a dominant system in the subconscious of many whose conscious thought appears to be wholly liberated. An explicit action in the reverse direction is therefore a necessary step towards complete objectivity. We find in practice that it cannot be dispensed with.”

    • Elizabeth

      Yes! I immediately thought of the same passage.

    • Jon W

      That book and his “accompanying” The Abolition of Man are amazing. I sometimes say that That Hideous Strength is my worldview.

  • Dale

    The professor claims that he was simply using an exercise from the textbook. According to a local television station, the name of that textbook is “Intercultural Communication: A Contextual Approach, Fifth edition.”

    Amazon.com not only sells the book, but prominently displays a blurb from that very same professor:
    “In today’s multicultural world, it is important to keep in mind the context (setting) when communicating with people from different cultures. This text considers various communication contexts and emphasizes the proper skills needed to effectively communicate.”

    What a shame Dr. Poole, in his classroom, apparently didn’t understand that lesson.

  • WilliamPenn

    Poole worships Obama and is writing a boot-licking book about him. Obama is a Muslim. Poole was conducting an exercise where Jesus got stomped. Anybody surprised?

    • Mark Shea

      Obama is not a Muslim. Stop repeating this stupid falsehood.

  • Dale

    Todd Starnes, of Fox News, obtained a summary of the exercise which was in the textbook:

    “Have the students write the name JESUS in big letters on a piece of paper,” the lesson reads. “Ask the students to stand up and put the paper on the floor in front of them with the name facing up. Ask the students to think about it for a moment. After a brief period of silence instruct them to step on the paper. Most will hesitate. Ask why they can’t step on the paper. Discuss the importance of symbols in culture.”

    If this is accurate, the lesson doesn’t require that students stomp on the name of Jesus. It requires them to consider why they object to doing so. It seems intended to be a concrete way of demonstrating the power of symbols.

    • Mark Shea

      Riiiiiight. Like to see them try that with a Koran. This is an exercise in abuse of power.

    • Blog Goliard

      No, the lesson doesn’t require the students to step on the name of Jesus.

      It does require that the professor instruct his or her students to step on the name of Jesus, and expects that at least some will comply. (Maybe even all of them…it does, after all, say that most will “hesitate”, not refuse.)

      If that distinction somehow puts your mind at ease and makes this seem like a legitimate classroom exercise, I encourage you to replace the words “step on the name of Jesus” with something else. How about “think of a racial or ethnic or sexual slur that would apply to someone in the room, then look right at them while using it in a sentence”? Wouldn’t that be a similar “concrete way of demonstrating the power of symbols”? And nobody’s *requiring* the students to carry out this instruction, right, so no harm done?

    • Blog Goliard

      Oh…and there’s also the little matter of the student in this particular case being suspended from the class. Or perhaps you’re just discounting that claim out of hand?

      • Dale

        I think the suspension from class was intended to prevent further conflict between the student and the professor. Was the suspension actually a punishment? I think we need more information to answer that question. I certainly wouldn’t want to be graded by a professor after filing a serious complaint against him. But if the course is mandatory to the student’s major. and no other professor is teaching the course this semester, then the matter becomes troublesome.

        In an earlier comment, you had mentioned that the gravity of the conflict might be better appreciated if another word, perhaps of the ethnic group, were used instead. I think your suggestion highlights the difficulty of the exercise and the need for tact and diplomacy from the instructor. From the news we are hearing, the professor failed to handle the predictable, and reasonable, offense that such an exercise will cause.

        • Blog Goliard

          I appreciate the thoughtful reply; but I still don’t believe that the exercise as prescribed can possibly be legitimate, no matter how much tact and diplomacy the instructor may employ. Students are being instructed by an authority figure to do a thing that for many of them will be a violation of religious conscience, sacrilegious, and offensive…and for what? To “demonstrate the power of symbols”?

          I suppose that asking the students to punch each other in the face would be an especially effective way to demonstrate the power of physical violence too.

          Also, while it may indeed not be in the student’s best interest to return to the course, unless they’re refunding the student’s tuition, then exclusion from class is most certainly a punishment. (And of course there’s no way to refund his time and effort…keep in mind that most schools are at or past mid-term already.)

  • b holland

    pooles phone number 954-236-1533

  • http://pavelspoetry.com Pavel Chichikov

    Angels Drew Their Swords Of Light:


  • Arnold

    This reminds me a bit of what I read about the persecution of Christians in Japan, where they were told to stomp on a wood carving of the image of Christ. If you did, you were spared. If you refused, you were executed. Many thousands were put to death that way. I am saddened that only one person in that class apparently refused where the stakes were far less ominous. .

  • Brian

    Please go to this online petition to force Florida Atlantic University to take action https://www.change.org/petitions/florida-atlantic-university-terminate-deandre-poole-s-employment

  • CathyLouise

    This may make everyone mad, but just remember that the media pretty much NEVER gets a story right. Even a cursory review of how they report religion proves this. In the case the press is reporting the student says he was suspended for not complying with the assignment, but there may be more to the story. FAU has a carefully worded statement linked on its homepage. It states the textbook was not authored by anyone affiliated with the university. It states that Prof. Poole is not a tenured track professor and instead has an annual appointment. And, finally, that the student was not suspended as a result of any activity that TOOK PLACE IN CLASS. This leads me to believe that the student really was suspended from the course, but it occurred when he went to complain about the assignment to Prof. Poole’s supervisor. I would like to know more about the university’s take on the suspension. The university really cannot address that publicly, though, so I don’t know how we’d ever learn more. I agree the professor should have tweaked the assignment so that students would be asked to stomp on the name of whatever they hold dear (if that was the purpose of the assignment). So, if you do write, be sure to keep a reasonable, reasoning tone to your missive. Flaming in anger, name calling and mocking won’t help.