Gov. Scott questioning offensive university assignment

Students instructed to write "Jesus" on a piece of paper then stomp on it

Published On: Mar 30 2013 09:22:45 AM EDT
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

The governor of Florida is demanding answers from Florida Atlantic University over what one student calls an offensive classroom assignment. The student says his professor told his class to write "Jesus" on a piece of paper then stomp on it.

"I'm not going to be sitting in a class having my religious rights desecrated," says Ryan Rotela.

Rotela went to his Intercultural Communications Class three weeks ago at FAU, and says he couldn't believe what the instructor told the class to do.

"He said everybody right Jesus on bold letters," Rotela recalls. "So what I did was I wrote Jesus just like this and then afterwards he said everybody put it on the floor. So he took out, put it on the floor. And he had us all stand up and once we were standing up he said stomp on it. And that's when I picked up the paper from the floor and put it right back on the table."

Rotela says to tell students to stomp on Jesus is offensive.

"Anytime you stomp on something it shows that you believe that something has no value," Rotela says. "So if you were to stomp on the word Jesus, it says that the word has no value."

Rotela says after he went to the instructors supervisor on the FAU campus to discuss his concerns, he was suspended from the class.

Now a non-profit law firm in Texas is offering Rotela legal help if he decides to pursue legal action against the school and the instructor.

"I was very shocked by what the professor had the students do," says Hiram Sasser at Liberty Institute. "And equally shocked that the university would back such an assignment and that they would take actions to retaliate against the student for reporting it."

Florida Governor Rick Scott was so outraged he fired off a letter to the university, which read, in part, quote:

"The professor's lesson was offensive, and even intolerant, to Christians and those of all faiths who deserve to be respected as Americans entitled to religious freedom."