Deandre Poole: Will FAU Support Academic Freedom and Renew the Contract of "J-E-S-U-S Prof"?

Categories: Broward News

An important early test of FAU's leaders in the post-Saunders era will be the decision whether to renew the teaching contract of Dr. Deandre Poole.

Dr. Poole was placed on leave in March after a dispute arose over his use of a communications class exercise in which students were asked to step on a piece of paper with "J-E-S-U-S" written on it. The exercise, according to its text, "really drives home the point that even though symbols are arbitrary, they take on very strong and emotional meanings."

See also:
- In Defense of FAU Instructor Deandre Poole

Take them on they did: One student complained to the media; the political and cultural right exploded in outrage; Dr. Poole was threatened with violence.

The anger abated when the school bowed to the pressure (and Gov. Rick Scott) and apologized. It banned the exercise and placed Dr. Poole on leave. It was one of a number of scandals that troubled the last days of the administration of FAU President Mary Jane Saunders, who resigned May 14. But even a body clueless as the school's board of trustees must know the dragon of right-wing fury is only dormant, and will surely be roused if Dr. Poole is re-hired.

Class schedules for summer and fall have already been posted and Dr. Poole's name appears nowhere. In a phone conversation last week, Dr. Poole told New Times he "hopes" to teach his normal summer class beginning June 24 but as to his status, he said, "I don't have a clue."

"Dean Coltman told me a week ago she was 'waiting to hear back,'" Dr. Poole said. "Prior to being put on leave I had been listed for the summer. I don't know who at the university actually makes these decisions."

"I know I have the support of my department colleagues, the faculty union and other departments at the school," he added. "In the meantime, I'm keeping busy with community projects." (Dr. Poole continues to serve as an usher and Sunday school teacher at Lighthouse Worship Center Church of God in Christ, in Fort Lauderdale.)

FAU Faculty Union President Chris Robe also described FAU's administration as opaque. "You'd like to know who to talk to," he said. "Everyone's passing the buck." As to the union's role in the Poole affair, he said "We're representing academic freedom. He's the face of it."

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Dr. Poole did NOT throw the kid out of the class for refusing to participate. That is an outright lie. Dr. Poole tossed the kid out of the class for saying, "I want to hit you right now..." There are student witnesses to this account.

Sorry - you don't get to threaten a professor with bodily harm. If you do, you get tossed out of the class. Game over.

If anyone checked this kid out, he is a gun nut, a Ron Paul supporter and off the reservation in his views. One has to wonder why he took Dr. Poole's class in the first place. He's on Facebook - check him out for yourself.

Instead of discussing his objections with Dr. Poole, he went straight to the media. He wanted his 15 minutes of fame and got it, or someone put him up to it.

Meanwhile, he nearly destroyed Dr. Poole's career, besmirched his reputation and put his life in danger.

The boy needs to grow up and be a man.


Damn !   you guys forgot just one tiny detail about Saint Deandre Poole the kindly college professor and part time deacon at a CHRISTIAN church of course...he did throw the kid out of his class for refusing to stomp on Jesus' name. By the way, I have not been to any church for over 40 years, and I also happen to think that the moslem religion made huge contributions to world culture for centuries, but fair is fair, and we must above all be HONEST REPORTERS.

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