Florida Atlantic University has maintained for a week now that no student was suspended for refusing to participate in an exercise in which students were told to write "Jesus" on a piece of paper and to stand on it. And for a week now, the lawyer for one student has been saying that the university suspended his client for objecting to the lesson. Florida's governor and numerous other politicians have also joined the discussion, denouncing the lesson that was used, and demanding to know why the student was suspended.
But the president of the faculty union at Florida Atlantic asserted in an interview with Inside Higher Ed Thursday that the university has neglected to explain that the student faced charges for making a threat against the instructor. Chris Robé, the head of the faculty union, said he has spoken to the instructor, Deandre Poole.
Robé -- who did not name the student -- said that Poole has been ordered by the university not to talk to any reporters, and is thus unable to defend himself, even as he has been widely criticized as anti-Christian (among other things). Poole is non-tenure-track, working on a one-year contract. Conservative activists are calling for him to be fired.
"He's been under a gag order, and the story has been framed all wrong," Robé said.
The reason the student faced charges
, Robé said, was that "the instructor was verbally threatened," not because the student objected to the Jesus exercise
. "He faced a hearing over that."