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University professor tells people to stomp on Jesus. Pisses off a student.

#1UnfairRepresentPosted 3/21/2013 5:13:19 PM
A student at Florida Atlantic University's campus in Davie says he couldn't believe what he and his fellow students were asked to do by their instructor three weeks ago.

Ryan Rotela, a junior from Coral Springs at FAU, said what happened was an insult to his intelligence.

He said the instructor in his Intercultural Communications class at FAU told everyone in the class to take out a piece of paper, write the word JESUS on it in bold letters, and then put the paper on the floor and stomp on it.

Ryan said while some of his classmates did it, he did not. He told the instructor, Dr. Deandre Poole, that he was offended by what he wanted him to do.

"Anytime you stomp on something it shows that you believe that something has no value. So if you were to stomp on the word Jesus, it says that the word has no value," said Ryan.

Ryan said he's a Mormon, goes to church every Sunday and considers himself a very religious person.

He said two days later, he went to Dr. Poole's supervisor, an associate professor at FAU to discuss his concerns. Ryan said since the incident, he has been suspended from the class.

FAU sent us a response by e-mail, saying, "Faculty and students at academic institutions pursue knowledge and engage in open discourse. While at times the topics discussed may be sensitive, a university environment is a venue for such dialogue and debate."

FAU says the instructor was doing a classroom exercise from a textbook entitled "Intercultural Communication: A Contextual Approach, 5th Edition."

The school would not say if the teachers would face disciplinary action.


Source:
http://www.cbs12.com/news/top-stories/stories/vid_6034.shtml

And here is a synopsis of the lesson that got Rotela in trouble.

“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.”


I already asked CE and the politics board but due to the obvious religious overtones here I am curious about what you guys think. Was this an unfair task or did the student overreact? Would this have still been acceptable if they said Mohammad or Shiva?

What are your thoughts?
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^ Hey now that's completely unfair.
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#2Moorish_IdolPosted 3/21/2013 5:22:14 PM(edited)
I am conflicted. On one hand, the student definitely overreacted. It seems like a good exercise to me and would lead to a good discussion. But on the other hand, with something as sacred in American culture as Jesus is, I can't help but think a better word or term could have been used to get the point across -- if not for anything but to avoid such overreaction and drama.

Personally, though, I would have liked to do that exercise in one of my classes. I think it'd be fun to see how it played out.


Edit:
Also this: "Anytime you stomp on something it shows that you believe that something has no value. So if you were to stomp on the word Jesus, it says that the word has no value," said Ryan." is precisely the sort of discussion this exercise was meant to promote.

It's funny how the student simultaneously understood the point and missed the point.
#3zero8691Posted 3/21/2013 5:20:22 PM
UnfairRepresent posted...
A student at Florida Atlantic University's campus in Davie says he couldn't believe what he and his fellow students were asked to do by their instructor three weeks ago.

Ryan Rotela, a junior from Coral Springs at FAU, said what happened was an insult to his intelligence.

He said the instructor in his Intercultural Communications class at FAU told everyone in the class to take out a piece of paper, write the word JESUS on it in bold letters, and then put the paper on the floor and stomp on it.

Ryan said while some of his classmates did it, he did not. He told the instructor, Dr. Deandre Poole, that he was offended by what he wanted him to do.

"Anytime you stomp on something it shows that you believe that something has no value. So if you were to stomp on the word Jesus, it says that the word has no value," said Ryan.

Ryan said he's a Mormon, goes to church every Sunday and considers himself a very religious person.

He said two days later, he went to Dr. Poole's supervisor, an associate professor at FAU to discuss his concerns. Ryan said since the incident, he has been suspended from the class.

FAU sent us a response by e-mail, saying, "Faculty and students at academic institutions pursue knowledge and engage in open discourse. While at times the topics discussed may be sensitive, a university environment is a venue for such dialogue and debate."

FAU says the instructor was doing a classroom exercise from a textbook entitled "Intercultural Communication: A Contextual Approach, 5th Edition."

The school would not say if the teachers would face disciplinary action.


Source:
http://www.cbs12.com/news/top-stories/stories/vid_6034.shtml

And here is a synopsis of the lesson that got Rotela in trouble.

“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.”


I already asked CE and the politics board but due to the obvious religious overtones here I am curious about what you guys think. Was this an unfair task or did the student overreact? Would this have still been acceptable if they said Mohammad or Shiva?

What are your thoughts?


disrespectful. He should be fired!
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If Judeo-Christian God exists, he creates and destroys indiscriminately. He loves and hates all. That's pretty badass
#4GBALoserPosted 3/21/2013 5:23:16 PM
I'll just repeat what I said on Politics:

We only have the student's account. The university is staying mum at the moment.

If the student is telling the truth, I'm sure he can nail the university for religious discrimination.
If not, then it's the same old over-hyped news story I've come to expect from Fox News.
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#5LastManStandingPosted 3/21/2013 5:27:41 PM
That is an act of blasphemy. Glad the student did not like it.
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#6JonWood007Posted 3/21/2013 5:57:17 PM
I was at first pretty troubled by this until i got to the bottom and read the assignment. Looking at the assignment, the student's refusal to step on the paper really represents a valid point about symbols in culture....after all, the students who refuse obviously have doubts, either due to respect for the name jesus, or even the fact that some people see it as blasphemy like LMS.

As someone well versed in sociology, I see exactly what the point of the exercise was. However, seeing how it's controversial, I can see the sense of outrage. But then again, the fact that there is outrage says much about what is valued in culture, and what is placed to positions of respect, almost being above criticism. Stepping on something, using your foot, represents the idea of being above something, or degrading the thing being stepped on. Since Jesus is highly respected, and degrading him is practically blasphemy for some, the discussion is to what makes the name Jesus so important. After all, it's just the letters J-E-S-U-S written on a piece of paper, but the meaning behind the name invokes a lot.

So I have mixed views on this. It's inflammatory, but it really brings about a good point when you actually look at the exercise in context.

Also, I just want to point something out. A major thing that makes religion work is the fact that it puts things above criticism, almost to the point that you can't criticize it. bring religion down to a level in which you evaluate it like you would anything else and it's not so special any more. This is why I get pissed when people, say, OW, go on about how you can't criticize God, blah blah blah. Because it puts things above a level of valid criticism...which keeps being being ignorant and in the dark. Shed your fear of questioning such things and you will not find them so special any more. heck, a lot of ideas you'll find just nonsensical. And that's where I come from on religion. I'm the kind of guy who has largely shed his fear of stepping on pieces of paper that say "Jesus" on them, so to speak. No idea is beyond criticism or reproach. Remove the special status from religion and you'll see how man made it really is (both the religion and its special status).
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#7kozlo100Posted 3/21/2013 6:10:22 PM
I think that being offended is rather the point of the exercise. I don't think the teacher is in the wrong in conducting the exercise, as it doesn't instruct that you penalize students who don't stomp, and I think the student has, thus far, completely missed the point of the thing.

That said, if the professor was competent, he'd have explained the point to the student instead of suspending, or allowing him to be suspended, from the class.

Kind of a lose-lose here. Student apparently hasn't learned, and the prof is crap at his job.
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#8Magyar15Posted 3/21/2013 6:33:47 PM
I'd like to see the Professor have people write "Muhammad" or "black people" and tell people to stomp on it... I mean, telling someone to desecrate something sacred to people as part of a classroom crosses a pretty clear line...
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#9JonWood007Posted 3/21/2013 6:37:39 PM
^^Well, the thing about "Muhammad" is that that would be even more controversial. Like, to the point people would be making death threats. Not to mention in Western society, Christianity is more mainstream. As for "black people".....LOL WUT? How is that even an equal comparison?!
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#10Magyar15Posted 3/21/2013 6:41:42 PM
JonWood007 posted...
^^Well, the thing about "Muhammad" is that that would be even more controversial. Like, to the point people would be making death threats. Not to mention in Western society, Christianity is more mainstream. As for "black people".....LOL WUT? How is that even an equal comparison?!


Well, if the point of the class was to offend people about a symbol, stomping on a paper labeled "black people" is a clearly offensive symbolic act, but one that would be harder to justify to people, so they are roughly equivalent. People would just get more riled up about the latter, than the Jesus example.
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A good man would prefer to be defeated than to defeat injustice by evil means - Sallust