It says a lot about a university when a student gets suspended for disagreeing with one of their professors. After all, isn’t college a place where young people go to not only find out more about themselves but also to debate and express their opinions? Furthermore, shouldn’t independent thought be something that universities should be encouraging instead of discouraging?
At Rollins College in Florida, twenty-year-old sophomore Marshall Polston was suspended after standing up to his Middle Eastern Humanities professor, who told students that Jesus’ crucifixion never took place. Professor Areej Zufari, who happens to be a Muslim, also claimed that Jesus’ disciples did not believe he was God.
Polston, a self-described Christian, told the Central Florida Post about his professor’s remarks. “Honestly, it reminded me of some of the more radical groups I researched when abroad,” he said, referring to a tour he once went on in the Middle East. “Whether religious or not, I believe even those with limited knowledge of Christianity can agree that according to the text, Jesus was crucified and his followers did believe he was divine… that he was God.” He went on to say, “Regardless, to assert the contrary as academic fact is not supported by the evidence.”
In a message to The College Fix, the college sophomore commented further on the controversy. “Our university should be a place where free-speech flashes and ideas can be spoken of without punishment or fear of retribution,” he explained. “In my case it was the total opposite. I came forward with the story because I know so many other students like me suffer under today’s liberal academic elite.”
Allegedly, the entire controversy began when Professor Zufari wrote an email to the dean, explaining how she felt “unsafe” after Polston challenged her views. But what started out as a simple complaint quickly escalated into an all-out attack on the college sophomore. Polston subsequently received a 52 percent on a major essay and was attacked on social media, though not by name. On the ACLU of Florida’s Facebook page, Professor Zufari wrote about a student who was “making my life hell this semester.”
When Polston finally received the official suspension letter, he was told that his actions were a threat of disruption to the school and that he put the safety of the college community members in jeopardy. Polston has since hired an attorney and plans on taking the school to court.
Though perhaps not as extreme, situations like the one Marshall Polston found himself in happen frequently in colleges across the country. Conservative students often find themselves not only having to challenge their professors in the classroom, but also having to expose them on the national stage. Indeed, liberal bias and indoctrination is an issue that is not yet mainstream, but should be. The more Americans who understand the battle that conservatives students constantly fight on college campuses, the more resistance there will be and the more of a chance that the one-sidedness will eventually come to an end. (RELATED: Canadian schools are indoctrinating students to believe that GMOs are safe.)
Colleges should be a place where students can feel comfortable expressing their ideas, so long as it is done in a thoughtful and respectful manner. Furthermore, professors should not only allow, but encourage students to debate and challenge the ideas of others. It is in this kind of learning environment that students can grow intellectually and learn how to become rational, open-minded adults. Unfortunately, what happens in most colleges and universities is the exact opposite. The expression of ideas is encouraged only if those ideas adhere to a progressive ideology. Students are encouraged to debate, but only if the points being made in said debate are approved by the liberal academic elite.
And so it goes.
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