For the podcast, I recently interviewed Professor Adam Laats, the author of Fundamentalist U: Keeping the Faith in American Higher Education, all about evangelical Christian colleges.
Lately, Laats has been interviewing a lot of graduates about their years at those schools, ranging from liberal to extremely conservative. Since they’re no longer attending, they can speak more objectively about whether those schools were good or bad.
I’ve posted a sampling of their comments below. They’re not necessarily shocking, but they’re an important reminder that not all students at those schools love them wholeheartedly. It’d be wrong for us to assume that all students agree with their schools’ publicly stated agendas.
During that class, I occasionally was bothered by the bias present in our discussion of Earth’s origins. I remember one test question asking me to outline the “evolutionist” view on something and contrast it with the “biblical” view of something.
Wheaton’s treatment of [Professor Larycia] Hawkins — its only tenured female professor of color, whose “offense” was embodied solidarity with Muslims — enraged me as a woman, a scholar, and a Christian. The next time I got my yearly fundraising call from some poor work-study student, I told her I was cutting off my donations, and why. Best I could tell, the student on the phone agreed with me.
Secular universities are much healthier for young people, because even though much more is going on privately, the maturity level is higher with real people (without a christian façade).
Despite my own positive experiences, I think these schools generally fail — or refuse — to provide some of the basic amenities that a college campus should offer as a matter of course. By restricting their students to a very narrow understanding of the world, policing their behavior within a very narrow moral code, and housing them within a very narrow community of the like-minded, these institutions mold their students into carbon copies of a particular type.
You can see all the interviews here — and there are more to come.
(Image via Shutterstock)