A New York University student’s Facebook post that her professor frequently referred to the Bible as a “Book of Spells” and “The Original Harry Potter” sparked a feisty debate among the NYU community, a back and forth that played out publicly on the social media website.

The debate transpired in late December on New York University’s “Secrets” Facebook page, on which students can anonymously post comments on subjects that range from admitting to cheating on a final exam to watching a roommate have sex. Facebook users can then comment on the “secrets,” albeit using their profile and name.

A student secret posted on the site Dec. 21 was that their “ConWest teacher freshman year for ‘antiquity and the 19th century’ referred to the Bible as a ‘Book of Spells’ and ‘The Original Harry Potter’ regularly when he would use it as a piece of the lecture. I am not even that religious, but found it so disgusting and disrespectful that I had no choice but to file a complaint. He no longer teaches classes at NYU.”

The comment prompted about four dozen responses, many of them using harsh and accusatory tones against the student who lodged the complaint. The responses led to an opinion column in the university’s student newspaper calling for more civility on the secrets Facebook site.

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