Florida Gov. Rick Scott is stepping into the controversy over a state college course’s “Jesus stomping” assignment, and the suspension of a student who refused to take part.
Guided by his instructor’s manual, a professor in an intercultural communications course at Florida Atlantic University asked his class to write “Jesus” on a piece of paper, fold it up, and stomp on it. One of the students refused, citing his religious convictions, and was later suspended from the class.
The University issued an apology for the exercise, saying it won’t be repeated, but also claimed it was voluntary and that no student was punished for failing to participate.
On Tuesday, Scott called for a thorough investigation, asking the state higher education system to look into the incident and to pinpoint or create, if need be, policies to keep such exercises out of Florida classrooms, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.
The Republican governor described the exercise as “intolerant to Christians and those of all faiths who deserve to be respected as Americans entitled to religious freedom.”
In a video statement released by the university, Charles Brown, the senior vice president for student affairs, said the university was “deeply sorry for any hurt” caused by the incident, admitting that with academic freedom comes “a level of responsibility which we did not uphold” in that specific circumstance.
“We are truly sorry that this incident occurred,” he said.