Bill Donohue | The Catholic League
March 30, 2017
Yesterday, I raised many questions about the account given by Rollins College officials in their handling of the dispute between Marshall Polston, the student who was suspended, and his professor, Areeje Zufari. Some of what I drew on came from a story by Orlando Sentinel reporter Gabrielle Russon. She did a fine job.
Inexplicably, reporter Scott Maxwell then wrote a story for the newspaper citing Russon's work to make the point that the charges made by the student constitute "fake news." This is the same position taken by Rollins College.
Something is wrong with this picture. Russon's account does not support Maxwell's. Indeed, she never mentions "fake news," never mind provide evidence to sustain this accusation. Why, then, did the newspaper run it?
More important, Maxwell never addresses the core issues:
- Why did Zufari contact the office of public safety about a threat the student never made? She herself admits that the student never threatened her.
- Why did school officials seek to change the student's behavior when his only "infraction" was to sharply question positions taken by Zufari in class?
- Why does Zufari not respect the free speech of her students?
- Why is she allowed to promote the Islamic interpretation of Jesus' crucifixion and his divinity? This would be labeled indoctrination if a Christian professor were to espouse the Biblical account.
Maxwell never addresses any of these matters. Nor does he report on the Muslim student who justified killing gays and adulterers in Zufari's class, and why she did not take issue with this.
Unlike Russon—who never took a side—Maxwell offered an op-ed, disguised as a news story.
Grasping at straws, Maxwell defends Rollins by saying it is welcoming to Christians. He should read his own newspaper. Here is what it said on March 7, 2013: "Rollins College has kicked a religious student group off campus for requiring its student leaders to be Christian...."
There was an odor to this story when it began. It now stinks to high heaven.