Dr. Deandre Poole, the professor at the center of Florida Atlantic University’s “Jesus stomp” controversy, has been put on administrative leave following nationwide outrage.
The chaos started after student Ryan Rotela complained over an exercise during which Poole apparently told students to write “JESUS” on a sheet of paper, throw it on the floor and then stomp on it.
According to WBSF-TV, Poole’s removal from the classroom was for safety reasons, considering the widespread anger that the story sparked. FAU responded to the incident via an official statement on Friday.
“As a result of the reaction to a recent exercise in Dr. Poole’s intercultural communications class, the instructor’s personal safety has been compromised,” a statement from the university read, according to the Sun Sentinel. “In addition, this decision will prevent further disruption to the day-to-day operations of Florida Atlantic University.”
Earlier this month, the odd story about Rotela, a junior at FAU, and his claim that he was suspended from a class for refusing to stomp on a sign that had Jesus’ name on it quickly spread across the nation.
At the time, numerous outlets, including TheBlaze, reported that Rotela was suspended from the course after complaining about the professor’s in-class assignment. Rotela, a devout Mormon, had refused to participate in the purported activity and told the professor that he found the request offensive.
The student was so frustrated that he subsequently went to his professor’s supervisor to complain — and that’s when he was allegedly removed from the class. Both the student and his lawyer believe that the university’s initial harsh response was retribution for Rotela going public with the story.
Later, though, FAU officials apologized.
Poole has been suspended with pay and, as the school noted in its release, the removal was purportedly rooted in concern over his own safety and for smooth university operations.
According to Chris Robe, a fellow communications professor and the president of the FAU faculty union, Poole has received death threats and racist messages in his email and voicemail as a result of the incident.
TheBlaze reached out to Poole when the story first broke, but we have not heard back from the professor.
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