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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Friday, Apr. 21, 2017 2 years ago

Rollins College professor resigns following controversy

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A professor at Rollins College has resigned following an alleged religious dispute between her and a student. The college contends that such a dispute never occured.
by: Tim Freed Managing Editor

A Rollins College professor tied to an alleged dispute between her and a student has resigned from the college. 

Professor Areej Zufari left her position at Rollins College recently, Communications Manager Jo Marie Hebeler said. 

“Professor Areej Zufari has made a personal decision to not continue teaching the rest of the semester,” she said. 

The teacher had been at the center of an alleged religious dispute with student Marshall Polston. According to Polson, the dispute was regarding the crucifixion of Jesus and took place in a Middle East humanities class. 

Polston had been suspended following the incident but was later reinstated. 

Rollins College maintains no religious dispute took place. 

“Rollins College has a legacy of being welcoming and respectful of all religious and cultural beliefs,” the statement read. “The student’s public tactics and statements have grossly misrepresented his experience, the daily practices of this college and the teaching methods of a professor.” 

Polston had reportedly been suspended for poor treatment of his professor, despite claiming he had felt religiously discriminated against and silenced in class, according to emails sent to Zufari after she gave him a failing grade on a paper.  

“The grade you assigned to me exposes your true agenda, which is to silence me in class,” Polston wrote in an email to Zufari. “It’s really cowardly of you to shut me down in the middle of class or lie to the dean, but I should be careful when saying that because that would be insulting to cowards.”   

An injunction filed by Zufari shows a potential history of alleged harassment. The injunction states she was physically stalked and cyber-stalked by Polston. Other records claim Polston was disruptive in class and mentioned references to guns when contacted by Hamilton Holt School Associate Dean Meribeth Huebner regarding an earlier grade dispute.  

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