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FAU: 'Jesus Stomp' Exercise Isn't Going Anywhere

The 'Jesus Stomp' exercise that caused controversy at Florida Atlantic University during the 2012-2013 academic year will stay on campus. The exercise, which required students to write the name 'Jesus' on a piece of paper and step on it, will still be part of the recommended exercises in the classroom textbook, "Intercultural Communication: A Contextual Approach."

The exercise put communications instructor Deandre Poole on administrative leave after it caused controversy with students earlier this year. Poole was rehired at FAU in June and began teaching during the university's summer session.

Instead of banning the exercise outright, the university instead has planned to train faculty members and organize discussions on civility and academic freedom.

"To ensure an understanding and appreciation of the sensitive nature of some classroom exercises, administrators and faculty will continue their ongoing discussions about academic freedom and academic responsibility," said FAU Provost Brenda Claiborne. "It is our understanding that faculty in the School of Communications ... will be reviewing the exercise in question."

Former FAU President Mary Jane Saunders, who resigned after a slew of controversies at the school, had said earlier in the year that the university would be discontinuing the exercise after public outcry. But professors at the university were concerned that an outright ban of the exercise would mean infringing on their academic freedoms -- and the exercise has stayed.

"The board at FAU has taken this matter seriously. The action items identified in FAU's response, and the removal of key staff, will ensure a more sensitive campus environment," said Gov. Rick Scott earlier this year. "I am hopeful that FAU's actions will ensure that such incidents never happen again."

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