Middle East studies in the News
Rollins Reinstates Student Who Battles With Muslim Teacher, Lawyer Says [on Areej Zufari]
by Gabrielle Russon
The Rollins College student who accused his Muslim teacher of religious discrimination has been reinstated to school and will return next week, his attorney said Thursday night.
"A student's freedom of speech and expression are the cornerstones of liberty in a free society," attorney Kenneth Lewis said in a statement that also called for a "full inquiry" into the actions of the professor, Areej Zufari.
The issue gained national attention on conservative websites and Fox News as Marshall Polston, 20, of Orlando, said he disagreed with his professor's teachings on Christianity. He was temporarily suspended March 24.
Rollins College President Grant Cornwell declined to comment on the specifics of Polston's discipline hearing because of student privacy laws. Cornwell said he, the trustees and deans had received 10,000 emails, "most of which were — I could not repeat because I am a decent person. They were filled with hatred and violent imagery," he said.
Court documents contain school emails showing that adjunct professor Zufari said Polston interrupted her Middle Eastern humanities class and had antagonized her since the semester started. When she gave him a failing grade on an essay, he wrote her a long email calling her incompetent.
Last week, Zufari sought a "protection against stalking" request from Orange Circuit Court.
Zufari is anxious to get back to teaching again, her younger sister, Noor Zufari, said Thursday night.
"With the rise of fake news, it's an unfortunately sensationalized situation that spiraled out of control," said Noor Zufari, of Tampa. "The silver lining is Areej can continue her passion of education ... She is looking forward to getting back to her regular class schedule and being able to teach again."
Many rushed to Zufari's defense, including the presidents at Rollins and Valencia College where she also teaches, calling her an experienced professor.
Students and Rollins employees held a private meeting on diversity Thursday to discuss what happened.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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