Deandre Poole was reinstated, offered a new contract. He will teach his classes online until he no longer feels threatened. Kudos to the faculty and the university’s administration for doing right by Poole, and for supporting academic freedom. I wrote about Poole here and here.
Inside Higher Ed has the full story.
In a nutshell: Poole is an instructor at Florida Atlantic University who asked his students to do a textbook assignment that had them to write the word Jesus on a piece of paper and then stand on the paper. Knowing that most students would balk at that request, Poole would then launch into a talk about the power of language. Offended by the assignment, a Mormon student stayed after class and threatened Dr. Poole. Dr. Poole reported the threat to the campus police. The student, Ryan Rotela, went to the news media with the story that he was punished because he refused to do the activity in class. That story blew up in the conservative blogosphere. Poole, then, received death threats. Fearing for his safety, he was placed on leave and finished teaching his cultural studies course online. He became known as the “stomp on Jesus” liberal bully college professor. By the time Poole could tell his side of the story, the damage had already been done. Turns out, per Poole’s account, Rotela told him he wanted to hit Poole in the face; he had been suspended from class for threatening his teacher, not for refusing to do the symbolism activity.