FAU "Jesus Stomp" Instructor Deandre Poole Placed on Leave for "Personal Safety"

At 1:53 p.m. today FAU officials announced that instructor Deandre Poole was placed on leave "immediately for safety reasons."

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Poole, a devout Christian, became embroiled in controversy late last week after right-wing critics accused him of anti-Christian activity. During a communications class, Poole had conducted an exercise  whose purpose was to demonstrate the emotional power of symbols.

In the exercise -- drawn from a widely-used textbook whose author is a prominent scholar at a highly regarded Catholic liberal arts college -- students were asked to write the word "Jesus" on pieces of paper, place them on the floor and step on them. Students were free to opt out of participation.

One class member who took offense later told news media that he had been suspended for objecting to the exercise. A public uproar ensued. The university claims the student was not suspended.

A statement released today by FAU reads in full:

FAU instructor Deandre Poole, Ph.D., has been placed on administrative leave effective immediately for safety reasons. 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.

In addition, this decision will prevent further disruption to the day-to-day operations of Florida Atlantic University.

Because of this, Dr. Poole will not teach any classes, conduct office hours, or be present at any of FAU's campuses or sites. Alternate instructors have been assigned to teach Dr. Poole's classes. Students have been notified and classes will continue as scheduled.

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