MyDefense for the Decision to Suspend Dr. Deandre Poole from FAU
FollowingDr. Deandre Poole’s controversial classroom activity in the FloridaAtlantic University, I find it necessary to suspend the professorindefinitely to audit his conduct and address the issues raised bythe controversy. In his defense, Mr. Poole says that he conceived theidea about the activity after reading an instructor’s manual of apopular textbook. However, it is the duty of professors to audit theinstructional methods provided by authors to determine theirpracticality as well as their effect on multicultural peace andtolerance. In our institutions of higher learning, professors areentrusted to deliver not only the right knowledge but also to use theright means of delivering it. Considering this argument, it isapparent that Mr. Poole failed to audit the lesson idea by thinkingthrough the consequences from a hypothetical point of view.
Touchingon specific iconic aspects of religion will obviously lead tocontroversy. Being a Christian majority class, the instructor shouldknow the extent of damage that might be caused by any activitiesdeemed to be blasphemous against Christianity. Similarly, if he wouldhave used the name of “Mohammed” in the exercise, it would haveoffended the Muslim minority. Religion is a wide and controversialsubject to Discuss. Therefore, such incidents divert the attention ofstudents and the community to less important matters such as thereligious affiliations of instructors. It is important that asinstructors deliver knowledge to the students, they should notindulge in activities or discussions that draw attention tothemselves.
FloridaAtlantic University and all other universities are known forchampioning for constructive dialogue, promoting civic engagement andenhancing the understanding of critical thinking. To achieve thesegoals, universities raise pertinent public debate on issues such asculture and religion. However, the manner of raising these topicsshould consider potential effects to the university community, thehosting community, the state and the country. Interculturalcommunication classes should help raise the level of culturaltolerance among students and not cause further divisions among thestudents. Mr. Poole has a clear and justifiable intention todemonstrate self-awareness among the students. However, the means ofachieving his objective focused on the deep religious differences inthe society in a way that is likely to promote religious intolerance.
Asa university, we value the nature and quality of knowledge that ourstudents acquire. This incident makes the society and publicauthorities question the lessons taught in this university and otheruniversities, as well as the manner of delivering knowledge. Theprofessor, in this case, was so sure about his class activity that hepromised to punish any student who did not participate in theexercise. The nature of the exercise demands that lecturersaccommodate the differences and resentments that students may hold.The University is committed to promoting academic freedom. It isimportant to allow professors to be innovative in deliveringknowledge to our students. However, instructor should enjoy thisprivilege within the stipulated university policy.
Thereis no question that the exercise communicated an important point inmulticultural communication. However, it also raised seriouscontroversies. Although the professor says he never called on any ofthe students to “stomp” on Jesus, it is perceived that that wasthe case. Universities trigger a dialogue on various sensitivesubjects however, he should not have triggered the dialogues fromthe point of division. The exercise is 30 years old therefore, theprofessor might have been following a precedent. However, the lengthof its existences does not justify the failure to audit instructionaldelivery strategies. Therefore, I find it necessary to suspend Dr.DeandrePoole until the institution addresses the concerns raised by thisactivity.