Step on Jesus 3.0: FAU now ‘reviewing’ exercise it defended, then banned; Scott is ‘hopeful’by George Bennett | July 16th, 2013
This March apology by an FAU vice president represents the second of three responses by the school to the “step on Jesus” controversy.
Faced with public outcry over a “step on Jesus” classroom lesson, Florida Atlantic University officials in March went from defending the exercise to condemning it as “offensive…insensitive and unacceptable” in a little over 48 hours.
“This exercise will not be used again,” an FAU statement flatly declared on March 22.
That ban, approved by former FAU President Mary Jane Saunders, angered many faculty members because it was made without consulting any instructors. A Faculty Senate committee recently concluded that FAU’s “senior administrators dismally failed” to defend academic freedom in responding to the uproar.
FAU is now promising that administrators and faculty will engage in “ongoing discussions about academic freedom and academic responsibility” and will be “reviewing the exercise in question.” The school has also laid out 10 other specific steps it is taking to address such controversies and larger issues of academic freedom and responsibility.
Gov. Rick Scott, who in March sought assurances “that this type of ‘lesson’ will not occur again,” appears to be satisfied with FAU’s response, saying the school’s plan “will ensure a more sensitive campus environment.”
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