Thursday, March 21, 2013

Florida Atlantic University needs to hear from you, please

I'd be very grateful if my readers, of any religious faith or none at all, would please take the time to let the administrators at Florida Atlantic University know about your reactions to this.

A student at Florida Atlantic University has charged that his professor in intercultural communications class told the whole class to write the name JESUS in bold letters on a piece of paper, then drop the papers and stomp all over them.

. . .

Junior Ryan Rotela, a devout Mormon, is the student making the charge.

“Anytime you stomp on something it shows that you believe that something has no value,” he told the South Florida CBS affiliate. “So if you were to stomp on the word Jesus, it says that the word has no value.”

. . .

Two days later, the junior alleges, he went to an FAU school official to express his unease with the assignment.

The result? Rotela has been suspended from the class.

An FAU official defended the decision, telling WPEC that the Jesus-stomping was part of a classroom exercise from a textbook: “Intercultural Communication: A Contextual Approach, 5th Edition.”

There's more at the link.

I don't care if someone doesn't believe in, or even like, the Christian faith - that's their free choice.  However, that's no reason to denigrate or mock what others believe in, whether it's Christianity, Islam, Judaism, atheism, or any other brand of belief or non-belief.  This incident is a travesty, a mockery, and political correctness gone mad.  In my opinion, those responsible should be fired.

Please contact the administrators to express your own views.  (I presume that many of those reading this blog will be of similar mind to myself.)



Kit said...

Sorry if this seems a little week, but in that maze of a website, I can't figure out whom to write to... would be easier to comment if you turned off the Captcha

Toejam said...

Maybe the lad's teacher should make the students write: "Prophet Muhammed" on a piece of paper and have them stomp on that.

I'd be glad to video recrord the event and distribute it to ALL the major news media organizations.

Betcha the only ONE that would accept my offer would be FoxNews.

Cameron said...

I remember a dustup at San Francisco State when the College Republicans stomped on paper copies of the Hezbollah flag. This enraged the Muslim students since the word Allah is written on it.

Yet this is perfectly acceptable. What a shock.

Chris said...

I'm an atheist, and I find this sort of thing annoying at best, and abusive at worst. Just because someone doesn't adhere to a particular point of view or faith, it is rude to use a position of power to embarrass or denigrate those who do. If you are secure in your own beliefs, you do not need to belittle the beliefs of others.

Soarer said...

Here is the quote from the manual: “This exercise is a bit sensitive, but really drives home the point that even though symbols are arbitrary, they take on very strong and emotional meanings. Have the students write the name JESUS in big letters on a piece of paper. 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.”

So if you read the last two sentences, the fact this student couldn't do it, should have been openly discussed in the classroom vs. the 'nazi' style of compliance.

Read more:

Soarer said...

oh my... a quick google of the profs name yields this:

perlhaqr said...

It sounds like (from what soarer says) the administration are the idiots, not the professor.

I mean, the exercise has value, in context, presuming the professor didn't demand the student be removed (or the student didn't protest in a way that justified the removal). Yes, it'd "edgy", but the point appears to be to get the students to think about why the exercise is edgy. Why they have an emotional reaction to the exercise, and to think about how (as referenced above) similar activities might have similar effects on people from other cultures. I mean, given that the class is "Intercultural Communication" and we've seen incidents of Muslims getting up in arms about defiling of the Koran, presenting this physical analogy to people mostly raised in a Christian culture seems reasonable.

And really, I am strongly loathe to condemn out of hand any black man writing a book entitled "Obamamania: The Rise of a Mythical Hero". That... honestly sounds like someone on our team.