“Florida Atlantic University apologizes for Jesus Stomping 101,” the Daily Caller reports today:
So, the story about the Florida Atlantic University student who says he ended up suspended because he refused to stomp on a piece of paper bearing the word “JESUS” has really taken off nationally.
As The Daily Caller reported on Thursday morning, junior Ryan Rotela, a devout Mormon, says he was booted from class after he told an FAU school official that the Jesus-stomping assignment made him uncomfortable.
An FAU official initially defended the suspension, telling local CBS affiliate WPEC that the Jesus-stomping was part of a classroom exercise from a textbook, “Intercultural Communication: A Contextual Approach, 5th Edition.”
Now, Mediaite has confirmed that the instructor’s manual accompanying textbook does, in fact, recommend Jesus-stomping.
I have an interview coming up soon with First Amendment lawyer Greg Lukianoff, the president of FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights and Education, and the author of the recent book Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate, who told me about one of the toughest battles he’s fought on behalf of a student:
LUKIANOFF: The one battle that I remember, that I talk about in the book, was a case at the University of Wisconsin, where the University of Wisconsin was trying to tell a Christian student, who was also a resident assistant — a dorm official — that he couldn’t have Bible study meetings in his own room, on his own time. And when they were asked to defend this and to explain it, the rationale that they came back with was, essentially, that we have some students on the floor who might not be comfortable talking to you if they knew you’re an evangelical Christian.
And I’m not religious, but I went to University of Wisconsin and just had to explain to them, can you imagine saying that to any other student? Can you imagine saying — it’s like, you know, I know you’re Jewish, but we have some anti-Semites on the floor, so it’s great that you’re Jewish, just be Jewish off campus. They would never do something like that. But for some reason, when dealing with an evangelical, they felt it was perfectly acceptable to say be religious off campus.
And believe it or not, that fight took months and months and threatened litigation from the Alliance Defense Fund, letter after letter by FIRE. The university did not want to back down in that case.
DRISCOLL: How did it resolve itself?
LUKIANOFF: Oh, finally they did exactly what we told them to do. And what we told them to do from the very beginning was saying, listen, if what you’re concerned about is that someone’s going to use inappropriate pressure to try to encourage students to convert to a religion in an unprofessional way, then by all means, you have the power to police that. But just assuming that an evangelical Christian cannot be, essentially, trusted to deal with — to have interactions with all students is just outrageous and unacceptable. So they basically did what we told them to do from the very beginning. And they could have saved themselves a lot of money, a lot of time, and a lot of bad press.
You stay classy, academia.