The centuries-long American tradition that college campuses are repositories for open learning and broad discourse has taken another hit after a Florida college student alleges that he was suspended because of his religious views.
Marshall Polston, an Orlando sophomore, maintains that his Muslim instructor at Rollins College in Winter Park gave him a failing grade on an essay after he challenged her in class about statements she
made about historical Christianity.
Predictably, the professor failed to take action against a Muslim student who shared in class his own belief in sharia law, adding that homosexuals and adulterers should have a certain body part removed.
Both students were taking a Muslim humanities course when Polston alleges Professor Areeje Zufari called Christ’s crucifixion a hoax and that His followers did not believe He was divine. After receiving the failing grade on the assignment, Polston sent her a long, strongly worded email outlining his concerns about her bias.
“Quite frankly the grade you assigned to me exposes your a (sic) true agenda which is to silence me in class,” Polston wrote. At points, his email bordered on the personal, but the only threat he made was to take his story to the national media or file a lawsuit if she did not quit harassing him.
Zufari responded by reporting the student to the Dean of Safety and at one point cancelled a class out of “fear.” Last week she filed a “protection against stalking” even though she acknowledged in the police report that the student made no direct threats against her. College officials have declined comment on the case, except to say they would never suspend a student for disagreeing with a professor. A disciplinary hearing was held earlier this week, but could take several days to be resolved.
Unfortunately, the Rollins College case is not isolated. In recent years, dozens of cases involving threats to religious freedom have emerged at universities across the country. As always, we are committed to helping any student, staff or professor who finds themselves being targeted for their faith.