UPDATE: Florida Atlantic University apologizes for Jesus Stomping 101

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So, the story about the Florida Atlantic University student who says he ended up suspended because he refused to stomp on a piece of paper bearing the word “JESUS” has really taken off nationally.

As The Daily Caller reported on Thursday morning, junior Ryan Rotela, a devout Mormon, says he was booted from class after he told an FAU school official that the Jesus-stomping assignment made him uncomfortable.

An FAU official initially defended the suspension, telling local CBS affiliate WPEC that the Jesus-stomping was part of a classroom exercise from a textbook, “Intercultural Communication: A Contextual Approach, 5th Edition.”

Now, Mediaite has confirmed that the instructor’s manual accompanying textbook does, in fact, recommend Jesus-stomping.

The manual reads:

“This exercise is a bit sensitive, but really drives home the point that even though symbols are arbitrary, they take on very strong and emotional meanings. Have the students write the name JESUS in big letters on a piece of paper. Ask the students to stand up and put the paper on the floor in front of them with the name facing up. Ask the students to think about it for a moment. After a brief period of silence, instruct them to step on the paper. Most will hesitate. Ask why they can’t step on the paper. Discuss the importance of symbols in culture.”

The FAU class in which the Jesus-stomping assignment occurred was called intercultural communications. Deandre Poole was the professor.

Mediaite helpfully points out that Professor Poole is the vice-chairman of the Palm Beach Democratic Party.

Also, another FAU faculty member was in the news recently. James Tracy, tenured associate professor of media history, bizarrely claimed that the Dec. 14 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School didn’t happen as it was widely reported — and perhaps didn’t happen at all. (RELATED: Public university professors join ranks of Sandy Hook conspiracy theorists)

On Friday, reports Todd Starnes of Fox News, FAU issued an apology for Poole’s assignment. The public, taxpayer-funded school said it won’t be using the assignment again.

“We sincerely apologize for any offense this has caused,” the apology said. “Florida Atlantic University respects all religions and welcomes people of all faiths, backgrounds and beliefs.”

FAU noted that no one was forced to participate in the assignment and that no one was punished because of it.

“We can confirm that no student has been expelled, suspended or disciplined by the University as a result of any activity that took place during this class,” the statement read.

Presumably, then, the school is saying that Rotela was not suspended from the class.

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Eric Owens