Refusing to Stomp on Jesus’s Name Gets Student Banned From Class

Say What!? 29

Florida Atlantic University has recently come under fire due to a class activity in which students were asked to write “Jesus” on a piece of paper, put it on the floor in front of them, and stomp on it. It was supposed to teach something about culture and symbolism, and came from an official instructor’s manual.

Apparently this made several students uncomfortable, but one actually spoke out about the insulting and offensive nature of the assignment. Ryan Rotela, a devout Mormon, says he picked up the paper and put it back on his desk. “I’m not going to be sitting in a class having my religious rights desecrated,” he told a local news station.

Rotela complained to the instructor’s supervisor -- and was subsequently suspended from class!

The University issued an apology last Friday night, and stated that no students were forced to participate in the stomping. They also denied that anyone was punished. The prepared statement read:

“We can confirm that no student has been expelled, suspended, or disciplined by the University as a result of any activity that took place during this class.”

Except that according to a letter written by Associate Dean Rozalia Williams, Rotela has been charged with several violations of the student code of conduct, and has been barred from attending the class or even communicating with other involved with the situation. According to the letter, Rotela engaged in “acts of verbal, written or physical abuse, threats, intimidation, harassment, coercion, or other conduct which threatens the health, safety, or welfare of any person.”

“In the interim, you may not attend class or contact any of the students involved in this matter -- verbally or electronically -- or by any other means,” Williams wrote to Rotela. “Please be advised that a Student Affairs hold may be placed on your records until final disposition of the complaint.”

That seems in direct conflict with the official statement from the school saying that no one had been disciplined as a result of this incident. I’m pretty sure that being told you’ve engaged in acts of violence for refusing to stomp on Jesus is some sort of reprimand or punishment.

Rotela claims the “threatening language” referred to in the letter occurred when he told the professor, “Don’t do that again,” and said, “You’ll be hearing from me.”

The school could not be reached for further comment or clarification.

Do you think this is an appropriate assignment for college students?

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nonmember avatar Cass

Whoa. I am an atheist, and this is majorly not okay. No student should be forced into doing something that conflicts with their religious beliefs (excluding learning about evolution, etc). If this is true, it's majorly screwed up. I don't mind the assignment so much (I assume it was a discussion of the concept of "sacred"), but to tell students to stomp on something that may mean something to them... not cool.

starl... starlight1968



Billi29 Billi29

whats sad here is the fact that the student is being punished for something that resultedi n this absurd assignment. and the teacher gets absolutly nothiing out of this. Christians are asked to respect others beliefs and to Not offend others beliefs.......... but youget someone put in a place of authority and it's "Ok" to stomp on the name of Jesus. I'm sorry but this is taking things way to far!!! 

nonmember avatar skipper

I'm an atheist but I would never, under any circumstances ask/make someone do something like that. I don't think there is any good point or lesson to be taken from something like that.

nonmember avatar Alex

My two cents? I am a dedicated Christian who gives love because I was loved first (by the Big Man himself). I understand the viewpoint that it is a crude assignment, an inappropriate one for any class, anywhere. However, I think we may be being a little too sensitive. It's symbolism people! Chill. Dropping the American flag on the floor doesn't make you any less patriotic, does it? With this said, the student should not have suffered the consequences for refusing to do it. That's absurd. That's what we should be talking about here.

nonmember avatar Sally

If the student was punished for simply refusing to participate then that is indeed inexcusable. However, we shouldn't gloss over what the seeming point of the exercise was. It's appears as if it was meant to show the strong connection we place on certain types of symbolism, and the reactions that can be caused by such attachments (reactions that are conditioned by certain cultural stimuli), which is not an invalid point in a college course.

Crystal Foose

The REALLY scary part is that only one student stood up to the prof.  I can't imagine he was the only Christian in the room.  it is so sad that Christians feel afraid to stand up for what they believe in because they are too worried about being PC!

work4... work4mickey

The assignment was wrong. I'm not a christian and I would have refused to do it. It's just plain assanine.

However, we do not know that this incident is the reason the student is being reprimanded. There may be have been other incidents, before or after, in which the student behaved inapropriately. There's probably more to this story than we're hearing about.

nonmember avatar Dave McKinnon

In our increasingly anti-Christian culture, this type of thing is only the beginning. It sorts out those who are serious about their faith from those who follow the Lord only when it is popular. Don't be surprised that FAU and other universities are anti-Christian. This is the new normal.

littl... littleladiesx3

Americas gone to hell. This is infuriating. 

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