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Faculty Committee at Florida Atlantic U. Criticizes Ban on ‘Jesus’ Exercise

A faculty committee at Florida Atlantic University has found that the institution compromised academic freedom when it banned a controversial classroom exercise that asked students to step on a piece of paper with the word “Jesus” written on it, according to The Palm Beach Post.

A student complaint about an instructor’s use of that exercise sparked a public outcry that included a rebuke from Florida’s governor. Florida Atlantic apologized and said the exercise would be removed from its curriculum. The university later placed the instructor, Deandre Poole, on leave, citing concerns about his safety. Mr. Poole’s supporters have argued that the university mishandled his case.

The committee’s findings about the exercise, which are preliminary, were read at a meeting of the university’s Faculty Senate on Friday.

“The committee’s preliminary finding is that there are sufficient grounds for concluding that academic freedom has been compromised,” said a statement read at the meeting cited by the newspaper. “Due diligence requires additional time for the faculty to gather and process all the pertinent facts prior to submitting a final report.”

A faculty committee is expected to issue a final report on the matter in the fall.

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