Middle East studies in the News
Suspended Rollins Student Was Accused of Stalking While at UF
by Romy Ellenbogen
Court records show that a former UF student whose hostility toward a Muslim professor got him suspended from Rollins College was accused of stalking a student and entering her room while at UF.
Marshall Polston, a former UF student, felt his professor at Rollins College was discriminating against him because of his Christian faith, the Orlando Sentinel reported. He sent his professor, Areej Zufari, an email accusing her of silencing him after Zufari gave him a failing grade.
Zufari filed a "protection against stalking" request against Polston on Friday after weeks of the two clashing, the Sentinel reported.
The story spread on social media, with people encouraging others to share and repost a message pushing for Zufari to be fired and Polston to be reinstated.
Polston couldn't be immediately reached for comment.
Polston was accused of stalking and burglary in January 2015 after allegedly entering the room of another UF student living in Beaty Towers and refusing to leave, according to a sworn complaint affidavit filed with University Police.
The charges were eventually dropped due to a lack of evidence. The victim, a now 21-year-old who transferred from UF in 2016, asked to remain anonymous due to the traumatic nature of the incident.
Before Polston entered her room, the woman asked Polston for space and ignored his attempts to contact her, including him leaving a plate of food at her door, she said.
When Polston entered, the woman locked herself in her bedroom and hid under the desk while Polston jiggled the door handle. Eventually, she ran out of the room screaming for help and hid in the stairway, she said.
The victim said she's upset seeing the current news about Polston because she wanted him to understand his actions. She said she wanted to take her charges to court, but when they were dropped she wasn't emotionally prepared to fight it.
"He's not the hero people want to think he is," she said.
Jesse Phillips, a friend of Polston's, said Polston's history has nothing to do with the situation.
Zufari and Polston could've approached the situation differently.
"I think we've all done things we regret, and we've all probably sent emails we regret sending," Phillips said.
Phillips said he wasn't surprised Polston spoke out about his strongly held beliefs, but thinks his suspension was unfair.
"I think it's something a university should be prepared for and be able to handle without suspending a student for sending a confrontational email to a professor," Phillips said.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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