Florida Atlantic University: Another Left-Wing Seminary

Question: What is the difference between Christian seminaries and American universities?

Answer: Christian seminaries announce that their purpose is to produce committed Christians. American universities do not admit that their primary purpose is to produce committed leftists. They claim that their purpose is to open students’ minds.

This month Florida Atlantic University provided yet another example of how universities have become left-wing seminaries.

An FAU professor told his students to write "JESUS" (in bold caps) on a piece of paper and then step on it.

One student who did not, a junior named Ryan Rotela, complained to the professor and then to the professor’s supervisor. He explained that he had refused to do so because it violated his religious principles.

Two days later, Rotela was told not to attend the class anymore. The university then went on to defend the professor in an email to a local CBS TV station: "Faculty and students at academic institutions pursue knowledge and engage in open discourse. While at times the topics discussed may be sensitive, a university environment is a venue for such dialogue and debate."

FAU further pointed out that the stomping exercise — to "discuss the importance of symbols in culture" — came from a textbook titled "Intercultural Communication: A Contextual Approach."

After the story became national news, FAU issued an apology: "We sincerely apologize for any offense this has caused. Florida Atlantic University respects all religions and welcomes people of all faiths, backgrounds and beliefs."

Of course, this "apology" was meaningless. Apologizing for "giving offense" has nothing to do with condemning the act. Not to mention that kicking Rotela out of the class belied the university’s claim of open discourse.

This story is significant because it provides yet another example of the deteriorated state of American higher education. There are some excellent professors in the so-called "social sciences" at American universities. But they are in the minority. The left has taken over American universities as well as most high schools, and like almost everything the left has influenced — education, religion, the arts and the economies of most countries — this influence has been destructive.

The argument that the professor represents no one but himself is refuted by the fact that the university defended the professor until it feared the national outcry that resulted.

Moreover, in another nationally reported incident, Northwestern University acted similarly in 2011. One of its professors invited his 600 students to stay after class to watch a live demonstration of female ejaculation, the subject of that day’s class. A naked young woman (not a student) then used a motorized sex toy to come to orgasm. About 120 of the students watched.

When word got out, Northwestern defended the professor: "Northwestern University faculty members engage in teaching and research on a wide variety of topics, some of them controversial and at the leading edge of their respective disciplines. The university supports the efforts of its faculty to further the advancement of knowledge."

Like FAU, only after national condemnation increased did Northwestern "apologize."

Entire books have been written providing hundreds of examples of left-wing indoctrination having replaced education in American universities. FAU is just the latest example.

It is also instructive that the name to be stepped on was JESUS, not, for instance, MUHAMMAD, ALLAH or, for that matter, BILL CLINTON or MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.

Imagine the reaction at FAU if a professor had told students to step on the name MUHAMMAD. The professor would be condemned at huge rallies organized by the university to protest "Islamophobia." And he would fear for his life. Desecrate Christianity and you get tenure. Desecrate Islam and you get bodyguards.

Or, imagine if the name had been MARTIN LUTHER KING. FAU professors would have competed with one another in expressing outrage at this example of the racism that pervades the university and America. The president of the university would have issued a statement condemning the professor and distancing FAU from his action.

And is there one reader of this column who is surprised to learn that the FAU professor, Deandre Poole, is vice-chairman of the Palm Beach County Democratic Party? Or that the party defended him?

This is why I founded Prager University (www.prageru.org): to undo in five-minute courses the intellectual and moral damage that universities do over four years. And unlike FAU and Northwestern, PragerU is free.

The universities’ damage is huge and enduring. And you don’t have to believe in JESUS to recognize it.

Dennis Prager’s latest book, "Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph," was published April 24 by HarperCollins. He is a nationally syndicated radio show host and creator of PragerUniversity.Com.

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  • R. Vince

    I specifically will NOT hire anyone who has Florida Atlantic University on their resume. They are clearly UNeducated.

    • Wheels55

      I went to FAU – a 1977 grad. A CPA. Perhaps you generalize too much or do you really think that one instructor made all FAU grads uneducated?

      • R. Vince

        Wheels, yes, it’s certainly a generalization. It’s a very bad reflection on you and all FAU graduates. On a more over-arching basis, FAU is an institution that stands on opposite sides of me in this civil war.

        • Wheels55

          Yup, it is an embarrassing reflection.

          I too stand an opposite side of the school here.

          And, why Jesus? Why not another name?

          I hope Governor Scott gets to the bottom of this. I will be happy if the instructor and maybe a couple others lose their jobs.

          • R. Vince

            Wheels, but even if it were another name, this type of instruction is hardly educational — it is Mickey Mouse. Somehow, you managed to become a CPA — not because of FAU, but because of qualities innate to you.

          • Wheels55

            Thank you. I agree that the step on Jesus education is lousy. But I did receive a great education there, as well as many others I know. They just need to reel in the useless free thinking stuff and get practical education back in the forefront. Alumni support is a big deal at any school and FAU does not have enough. Making national news this way certainly will not help.

          • R. Vince

            At every board meeting of every university, there is the freakout that content of the highest quality is available online and for free. Want to take some math courses from MIT? Have at it! The universities know this and are in a panic to remake their business model. The only way a univeristy can be relevent in the future is to provide competitive content. Stomping on Jesus, or anything this Mickey Mouse, is NOT something anyone is going to log on to any free content to “learn” much less study. Look at http://www.openculture.com/freeonlinecourses Want to learn Introduction to Chemical Engineering from Stanford, there it is. Differential equations from MIT? It’s here, all free. In the future, degrees from institutions will not matter — what will matter are professional designations (wouldn’t it have been less expensive to have taken your classes, online from Wharton, than FAU?) When institutions like FAU have Mickey Mouse content they are dinosaurs.

          • Wheels55

            Lately, I have earned all of my continuing education credits for my CPA license with on-line courses. I am old school – I still like classroom education where one can engage in conversation. I think you learn more that way. But many large universities cannot have classrooms small enough for conversation. So, on-line education is the future and now. The goods news is that one is much less likely to be instructed to stomp on paper in an on-line course.

            I think higher education is what one makes of it. Too many kids come out of high school with below standard reading and writing skills. The Freshman year of college becomes the 13th grade – kids learn more about parties than anything else. Kids and parents waste a lot of money with today’s college education.

            I think there should be intense weed-out courses early on in college and then see who is left to move on.

  • Wheels55

    By the way, as a student, I would not have stepped on any religious name. I would step on Obama’s name. Was that an option?

  • Wheels55

    As a FAU grad (1977), I find this whole thing embarrassing. This right after FAU sold stadium naming rights to a prison company. This latest incident will cause me to pull the financial support I offer each year to FAU (although it isn’t much).
    I used to joke that FAU means “Find Another University”. Maybe that is now true.