A conservative Christian student at a private liberal arts college in Florida claimed he was suspended after speaking out when his Muslim professor claimed that the crucifixion of Jesus Christ was a hoax and after one of his classmates suggested that homosexuals should be punished under Sharia law.
Marshall Polston, a 21-year-old sophomore at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, received a letter from the school administration last Friday informing him that he has been placed on "summary suspension" after being deemed a "threat of disruption."
Polston told the Central Florida Post that the events leading up to the suspension began when he challenged Professor Areeje Zufari during their "Muslim Humanities" class earlier this semester after she argued that Jesus wasn't crucified and that His disciples did truly not believe He was "God."
Polston claimed that the professor retaliated by giving the straight-A student a grade of 52 percent on his next essay.
"I was upset, understandably. I've never gotten anything less than straight A's," Polston said. "So, I was really interested in figuring out how to possibly improve or at least understand the grade."
After talking with the professor about his grade on the essay, Polston said that Zufari then reported him to Rollins' "Dean of Safety" and even canceled class because she felt "unsafe."
When Zufari was feeling safe enough to resume her classes, the issue of sharia law came up. According to Polston, a Muslim student in the class aruged that a "good punishment for gays, adulterers, and thieves was the removal of a certain body part, as determined by Sharia law."
"It took a few seconds for me to realize that he actually said that, especially after what this community has faced with the tragic loss of life at Pulse [Nightclub in Orlando last June]," Polston recalled, adding that Zufari responded only in a joking manner that the Muslim student would be in "time-out."
Polston added that some of the other students in the class were alarmed by the student's statement and believed that Zufari should have reported the incident to authorities. One student, who chose to remain nameless, told the Central Florida Post that he even reported the incident to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
It was after the exchange in Zufari's class was reported to authorities that Polston was summoned to the dean's office to discuss how he was making the college "unsafe."
"They made it clear that they had not gotten a report about what the student said, and were more concerned about the danger I was causing to the campus," Polston said. "What danger? A difference of opinion in a college classroom is nothing out of the ordinary and certainly not dangerous. It was surreal and degrading. The bad grade was upsetting, but they were literally refusing to acknowledge the dangers posed by someone who advocated chopping off body parts on campus."
The Christian Post reached out to Rollins College on Monday but no comment could be provided by press time. Additionally, The College Fix and the Central Florida Post report that they both reached out to the school's media relations department numerous times but received no response.
Along with the suspension, the letter also informed Polston that he must refrain from making contact with the professor and that he can not discuss this matter with other students.
The Central Florida Post also reports that Zufari filed a police report that alleges that Polston violated the school's de-facto restraining order by showing up to class.
Polston denies that allegation and even stated that he was visiting his elderly grandfather and traveling to Daytona Beach when the incident allegedly happened and has proof to show that he was not in class at that time.
"I will be releasing witness statements shortly proving I could not have been where Professor Zufari said I was Thursday night," Polston said. "It's shameful that she lied to the police."
This is not the first time Rollins College has been in the news for actions it has taken against Christian students.
In 2013, the college kicked InterVarsity Christian Fellowship off campus because it does not allow non-Christian students to become leaders in the organization, which is a violation of the college's anti-discrimination policy.
Later in 2013, it was reported that four members of InterVarsity were told they can no longer hold informal Bible studies in the common area of their dorm suite.