Protesters at Florida Atlantic U. Back Instructor in ‘Jesus’-Stomping Exercise

A group of roughly 60 students, faculty members, and others demonstrated at Florida Atlantic University on Tuesday in an effort to express support for Deandre Poole, the instructor who became the target of public outrage for asking students to step on a piece of paper with “Jesus” written on it during a classroom exercise. The university has apologized repeatedly for the incident, and put Mr. Poole on leave amid the criticism, citing concerns for his safety. The uproar over the exercise is part of a string of controversies that has plagued the institution in recent months.

The protesters accused university officials of meddling in the classroom, and the president of the university’s faculty union called on administrators to “admit they made a mistake” in their handling of the matter.

FAU responded Tuesday with a statement that says the university “embraces open discourse across its campuses and values its public mission as a venue for free expression…We will to work with the FAU faculty and staff to address sensitive and controversial subjects, while upholding freedom of expression. A university campus is the best place for discussions of differing opinions.”

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