More than three months after Professor of Communications and Multimedia Studies, Deandre Poole, was placed on administrative leave for his “Jesus Stomping exercise,” he was rehired.
The status and whereabouts of Poole were unknown until today when Interim Dean of the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters Heather Coltman announced his reinstatement.
“We have a lot of students in communications. A lot of the classes are generally full and Dr. Poole is very qualified,” Coltman told the UP. “Enrollment is up. We want him back in the classroom.”
Poole will be returning to his position, in the School of Communication and Multimedia Studies, at FAU next week, but will only be teaching online courses for the first two semesters of his return.
“They [Poole’s students] are the reason I love my job, why I’m here. We’re all here to learn; students learning from students and students learning from professors,” Poole said.
In FAU’s decision to place Poole on administrative leave, Sr. Vice President of Student Affairs Charles Brown said, “As an institution of higher education, we embrace academic freedom, but with that comes a level of responsibility, which we did not uphold. Based on the offensive nature of this exercise, we will not use it again. It was insensitive and hurtful, and we are truly sorry.”
When asked if he thought academic freedom was the real victim, Poole told the UP, “The hallmark of institution of higher learning is academic freedom. We are moving forward.”
The UP asked Poole if he ever thought he wouldn’t be asked back to FAU.
“A lot of thoughts came into my mind, and of course that was one of them.” Poole explained. “I was happy to get back to work with my students. It’s very- I’m just very ecstatic to get back to my students.”
Coltman also heard from Poole’s loyal students.
“I think students are very good at determining how serious and good a faculty member is,” Heather Coltman said. “Many students that I spoke to told me he was the reason they would drive down to Davie to take one of his courses. He’s a dedicated teacher who connects well with students.”
Despite Poole’s praise and support before and after the “Jesus Stomping” incident, he did receive hate-mail. Until a threat no longer exists, he feels it would be best to teach his courses online. Poole also mentioned that he will not be teaching the Intercultural Communications (SPC 3710) course that he was teaching when the controversy sparked.
He hopes and plans to get back into the classroom as soon as possible.
Provost Brenda Claiborne sent an email to provide instructions if threats resurface in Poole’s direction. People aware of such threats are instructed to inform FAU Police at 561-297-3500 immediately with all pertinent information.
FAU is looking forward to having Poole return to work.
“FAU Provost Brenda Claiborne and Acting President Dennis Crudele also expressed their full support of the efforts to fulfill the university’s academic mission and responsibilities,” Director of Media Relations Lisa Metcalf said in a press release.