Friday, June 09, 2006

Further words on Patrick Henry College

My post on Patrick Henry College generated no comments, but this morning I received a very articulate e-mail about the situation on the ground that I wanted to share.

From reader CB:

"Thank you for taking the time to write your thoughts on this issue. It is discouraging to me, as a PHC alumna, constantly to see the media come to my alma mater in search of a caricature. They always seek out the most immature, most conservative students - usually the youngest, as you say - and ignore the fact that there are a lot of well-balanced, mature students who think for themselves on campus as well. I remember one instance when a New York Times reporter was on campus for a couple of days. He sat in on one of my classes - a difficult seminar titled Modernity, Post-Modernity, and Society. We were discussing The Human Condition by Hannah Arendt that day, and he complimented us students on our handling of a relatively intense topic and said the class' discussion was on par with what he experienced in graduate school. He then proceeded avoid what he knew were the more "normal" students for the rest of his visit and focus solely on those he knew would fit the stereotype he was out to portray. He did not mention us in his article, but was sure to talk about the long skirts and strict rules.

Yes, Mike Farris created the college with a political agenda. Many of us did not know or understand how serious he was about this agenda until he started firing professors over it, as you read in Christianity Today. We simply thought - rightly, for a while - that PHC was a place dedicated to a rigorous liberal arts education and excellent training in leadership. I thought it would be up to me what I wanted to do with my leadership training. I did not know, as a freshman, that I would be expected to conform to his religio-political agenda or be branded some kind of "rebel" who did not support the vision of the school.

So, in conclusion, you are correct in your analysis of the media's tactics and the true nature of the PHC student body; however, I must admit that it is quite true that the leaders of the college do have a political agenda and they wish to use the college and its students as tools to accomplish that agenda. Fortunately for America, a lot of students do not wish to be tools.

If you would like more information on the professor controversy, there is a student-run website containing most of the relevant information here."

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