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Student complains that FAU instructor, a Democratic official, asked class to stomp on ‘Jesus’

by George Bennett | March 22nd, 2013

A Florida Atlantic University student says he’s been told not to return to his intercultural communications class after he complained that the instructor, who’s also a Palm Beach County Democratic Party official, asked students to write “Jesus” on a piece of paper and stomp on it.

Ryan Rotela of Coral Springs says that after he complained about instructor Deandre Poole‘s request, FAU accused him of threatening Poole and told him not to return to Poole’s class. Rotela’s story was first reported by WPEC-Channel 12.

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

Poole and FAU officials have not responded to requests for comment today.

Palm Beach County Democratic Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo said Poole was merely following an exercise in a textbook used in the course.

“The whole purpose of the exercise is to encourage discussion among the students about how different cultures apply different meanings to symbols…It encourages a healthy discussion. That’s my understanding,” Rizzo said.

She added: “Deandre himself is a Christian. He goes to church.”

Rotela said that in a March 4 class at FAU’s Davie campus, Poole asked students to write “Jesus” on a piece of paper, then asked them to put the paper on the floor and stomp on it.

Rotela said that when he tried to raise an objection during the class, he was brushed off by Poole.

After the class, Rotela said, he expressed his concerns to Poole and said he would tell Poole’s supervisor and the media about the incident. Poole told him to leave the classroom, said Rotela. Rotela said he then told Poole that Poole would hear from him again.

After complaining to Poole’s immediate supervisor at FAU’s main campus in Boca Raton, Rotela said he met with an FAU hearing officer who questioned his account in a “hostile” way and accused Rotela of threatening Poole. Rotela said he later received a letter from the school telling him not to attend Poole’s class.

Rotela says he didn’t threaten Poole and doesn’t think his words could have been interpreted that way.

“I don’t believe letting things be known and letting people know what happened is a threat,” said Rotela.

Rotela, 21, said he works full time and takes courses part time in pursuit of a communications degree. He said he hopes to go to law school. Asked about his religious beliefs, Rotela said he attends a Mormon church but “I identify myself as just Ryan, Christian, believes in God.”

49 Responses to “Student complains that FAU instructor, a Democratic official, asked class to stomp on ‘Jesus’”

  1. Fred Johnson Says:

    The Democrats haven’t seemed much in a mood to stay in the closet lately. So by keeping this fool on board, both the Democrats and the college can come out in the open about what everyone already knows anyway, that they support the “stamping out” of Christian values and the current War on American morality. On the other hand, they could retreat into their closet, pretend to be Christians some more and ditch the fool to hold onto what little support they have.

  2. rich Says:

    the instructor should write mohammed on a piece of paper and stomp on it and see how that works out.

  3. Moe Joe Says:

    Not only that, but if you trash the US flag, it’s no problem to these people. But if you trash the Technicolor Puke flag of the anti-Americans, look out – it’s a Federal offense.

  4. Wayne Says:

    I’m sure this is just an innocent ‘mind-stretching’ exercise. They could just as well have taken Rich’s suggestion and written “Mohammed” instead. I’m sure that exercise is coming “real soon now”

  5. Brian O'Donaghey Says:

    I’m not a democrat, and I smell hushup and coverup. What are the 3 FAU names being hidden…. Poole’s immediate supervisor, the hearing officer, and the official signing the letter to Rotella? Who’s protecting them? Is the charge of “threats” a trumped-up backlash? And why’s Rizzo, a lame politician who wasn’t even there, pontificating top cover for the school on a classroom matter? Take em all to court, kid. This kinda self-righteous crap has to end somewhere. Make them squirm in public.

  6. FL_Independent Says:

    Agree with most of you. I think yet another interesting facet here is that this is an exercise in a textbook at FAU? Stomping on paper? This is higher learning?

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  8. Z Says:

    So this nut job got all bent out of shape because someone suggested he stomp on a piece of paper with writing on it… Really? This is the kind of wacko that starts wars and kills people because of differences in religious beliefs, there’s no room for these crazies in our society. I’m glad they asked him not to return to class. If I were a student there, I would not want to attend class with someone this unstable.

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  10. Oh yeah Says:

    Looks like we got a real live one right here, with commenter “Z”…

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  13. Z is always last in line Says:

    Z
    What’s this “our society” stuff?
    Do you have a mouse in your pocket or somethin?…cuz you ain’t speaking for me.
    We’re different, that’s all.

    I have faith, you probably don’t.
    If I have to explain what that means, you’d never understand it anyway….
    just as I’ll never understand how you’ll eliminate all “crazies” from your perfect society.
    Grow up and Deal with it.

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  16. Z Says:

    I think you missed my point. No big deal that he’s religious. What makes him unstable is that being asked to stomp on a piece of paper was enough to make him run to administrators to complain about the teacher. It’s just a piece of paper! It just so happens that the religious crowd seems to a higher concentration of these nuts than the general population as a whole.

  17. kelly Says:

    People bid for Jesus on a grilled cheese sandwich on e-bay. Same kind of cuckoo.

  18. Oh yeah Says:

    Z, what planet do you live on? Maybe the wrong one? On my planet, the “general population” of the United States is overwhelmingly Christian.

  19. Z is always last in line Says:

    Z
    What would your spouse think if you stomped on your wedding photo, and told her “it’s just a piece of paper”?
    Would she be “unstable” for getting upset at you?

    Perhaps Poole could have made his point better if he used a different means to stimulate discussion. Or even accepted Rotella’s refusal to stomp and used that to start the ball rolling.

    You seem to be pretty young, not so worldly wise. Experience teaches that not everyone is, or should think like you.

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  23. Linda Says:

    I can think of no Christian who would encourage people to stomp on the name of Jesus. Something’s fishy about Poole’s claim to be a Christian, if he does something like this.

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  26. Ted the Nimble Says:

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  27. Bigot Buster Says:

    How about this for a follow-up academic exercise: President Obama stomping on a copy of the Koran.

  28. Kevin Says:

    Something is missing from this story and it is most likely the student is not accurately portraying the events that occurred. I can’t understand why the teacher would kick the student out of the classroom if all he said was that stomping on the paper made him uncomfortable. He probably said something out of line and insulting to the teacher which is what led to his ouster. The textbook says “ask the students in the room why they can’t stomp on the paper and discuss the reasons why”. Where are the accounts from others in the classroom at the time? What really happened? Are we suppose to believe this student because he a Mormon? So is Glen Beck and Mit Romney and they lie all the time.

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