Skip to main content

Muslim Professor Resigns after Christian Student Stands Up for His Faith

Share This article

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.

Share This article

About The Author

Caitlin Burke Headshot

Caitlin Burke serves as National Security Correspondent and a general assignment reporter for CBN News. She has also hosted the CBN News original podcast, The Daily Rundown. Some of Caitlin’s recent stories have focused on the national security threat posed by China, America’s military strength, and vulnerabilities in the U.S. power grid. She joined CBN News in July 2010, and over the course of her career, she has had the opportunity to cover stories both domestically and abroad. Caitlin began her news career working as a production assistant in Richmond, Virginia, for the NBC affiliate WWBT