We’ve been covering this for days now, and depending on which report you read, it’s either still ongoing or it’s finally settled.
Now over the weekend (either Friday or Saturday), we’d heard the school issue a classic “non-apology” apology, which basically gave the impression they felt they’d done nothing improper by way of the course or the offensive exercise.
Yet they also had said that “This exercise will not be used again….”.
Which left us up in the air as to what Mr. Rotela’s status was: suspended? No longer suspended? Never had been suspended? Was the college still defending the course and their instructor? If so, why would they discontinue the teaching exercise?
And today at last, we have some clarity via Fox News Radio’s Todd Starnes:
Florida Atlantic University has issued a formal apology to a student that was facing academic charges after he complained about a professor who ordered the class to write the name “Jesus” on pieces of paper and then stomp on the paper.
Ryan Rotela, a student at FAU, was accused of violating the student code of conduct after he reported his instructor to university administrators. He was removed from the class, ordered not to contact fellow students, and was facing possible suspension or expulsion – pending the outcome of a student hearing.
And that’s roughly where we came in, …and also when the proverbial “poo” hit the talk radio/blogger-propelled fan:
But after a massive national outcry, the university reversed course Monday afternoon and cleared the devout Mormon student of all accusations.
“There will be no punishment,” said Hiram Sasser, Rotela’s attorney. “They are wiping the record clean for Ryan. They are reinstating him for a plan to complete the course without that professor.”
Sasser, the director of litigation for the Liberty Institute, told Fox News that the university was deeply apologetic.
“The university apologized profusely,” Sasser said. “One of the university officials told us lots of people were offended by the assignment and they were very sorry about that.”
Corey King, the university’s dean of students, told Fox News they could not comment on the specifics of the Rotela incident – but reiterated their remorse for the offensive class assignment.
While King could not speak directly to Rotela’s standing at the university he did say that “upon reflection, the university has decided not to move forward with any disciplinary action against any student regarding this matter.”
So, some takeaways:
- The report that was originally published from the school which said, “that no student has been expelled, suspended or disciplined by the University as a result of any activity that took place during this class…” isn’t in any way the same thing as “upon reflection, the university has decided not to move forward with any disciplinary action”. Which means that the initial statement was a smokescreen from the school, and yet another misstep on their part.
- If you’re ostensibly trying to teach religious sensitivity and/or religious symbolism’s importance in society, I’d humbly suggest it be done with a bit more rigor and tact, things that this teacher seems to have lacked.
- Also, the fact that it took three weeks and a national outcry (literally) for F.A.U. to figure out that they were out of line, says quite a bit about this particular college.
- At the very least, this should be a heads-up to every high school student and their parents: You might want to check out a college’s courses in detail, cause I’m guessing this particular class exercise wasn’t in the campus brochure.
After all this, I’d love to believe that our nation’s colleges and universities will take this incident to heart, and use it to examine their own curricula objectively and harshly. But let’s be serious: that ain’t gonna happen.
Nope, the only ones who might learn from this entire episode is us…I hope.