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School apologizes for 'Jesus' stomping

March 26, 2013 at 2:56 PM

DAVIE, Fla., March 26 (UPI) -- Florida Atlantic University issued an apology for a class exercise that involved Intercultural Communications students stomping on "Jesus."

The school issued an apology for the March 4 assignment in Deandre Poole's Davie classroom, which involved students being asked to write "Jesus" on a piece of paper then stomp on the paper, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported Tuesday.

"This exercise will not be used again," FAU officials said in a statement. "We sincerely apologize for any offense this caused. Florida Atlantic University respects all religions and welcomes people of all faiths, backgrounds and beliefs."

Communications department director Noemi Marin had earlier defended the assignment, saying, "while at times the topics discussed may be sensitive, a university environment is a venue for such dialogue and debate."

The exercise came from an instructor's manual written by St. Norbert College communications professor Jim Neuliep. The assignment was part of a chapter about dealing with the power of certain words.

"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," the exercise states. "Most will hesitate. Ask why they can't step on the paper. Discuss the importance of symbols in culture."

Poole, who has been on the instructing staff since 2010, could not be reached for comment, the Sun Sentinel said.

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