Middle East studies in the News
Muslim Professor Resigns after Christian Student Stands Up for His Faith [on Areej Zufari]
by Caitlin Burke
The Muslim professor at the center of a controversy with a Christian student at Rollins College in Florida has resigned her post, the school's president says.
Areeje Zufari, a humanities professor, resigned after a controversy that involved a conflict with a Christian student who says he was suspended and faced a disciplinary hearing for challenging the professor's anti-Christian statements in the classroom.
The school is breaking its silence for the first time, claiming that the student, Marshall Polston, was suspended after allegations that he made "vulgar" and "mean-spirited" posts on Facebook to another student.
Kenneth Lewis, Polston's attorney, told The Orlando Sentinel that Polson was suspended because he publicly challenged Zufari's statements in the classroom and that the Facebook post was "nothing" and "a total joke."
Polston has spoken with CBN News about the case but has not responded to a request for comment on the latest developments.
CBN News has also sought comments from Zufari and officials at Rollins College but has received no reply.
The school is now speaking out in defense of Zufari.
"She resigned this semester because of the hateful threats and emails and phones messages she was getting," President Grant Cornwell said. "I think it's a terrible injustice, but I do respect her decision."
At one point, Zufari had requested a temporary injunction for protection against alleged stalking by Polston, but she later filed notice for a voluntary dismissal of that request.
The controversy began, Polson says, when he challenged Zufari who argued that the disciples didn't believe Jesus was God and that the crucifixion was a hoax. That's when the 21-year-old sophomore said his professor started gunning for him and his troubles began.
"It was very off-putting and flat out odd. I've traveled the Middle East, lectured at the Salahaddin University, and immersed myself in Muslim culture for many years. Honestly, it reminded me of some of the more radical groups I researched when abroad," Marshall Polston told Central Florida Post.
Polston said up until that point he was a straight-A student, but that all changed when his professor retaliated and gave him a 52% on an essay.
"I was upset, understandably. I've never gotten anything less than straight A's," Polston explained. "So, I was really interested in figuring out how to possibly improve or at least understand the grade."
The school says it reviewed the paper and found the grade appropriate.
Cornwell says Polson was reinstated after the school reviewed his Facebook posts and found them not to be a threat.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.
Campus Watch contact e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org