The Underground University

Posted: Feb 23, 2004 12:00 AM
In November of 2003, I got an unusual phone call from a fellow employee here at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW). The employee had just attended a monthly staff meeting in another department. He claimed that during the meeting a high-ranking UNCW administrator had stated that recent increases in the number of student Christian organizations were causing "concern" for some members of the university administration.

According to the employee, the administrator claimed that this increase in student Christian organizations began shortly after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. The employee alleged that the administrator said that this was generating concern among some administrators because it suggested that the student body was becoming more conservative.

Upon hearing this account of the meeting, I immediately dismissed the report as inaccurate. It seemed difficult to imagine that such a sentiment would ever be publicly expressed by even the most brazen and reckless of administrators. Despite my generally low level of confidence in college administrators' respect for religious liberty, this report simply seemed too far-fetched to believe.

Unfortunately, on December 8, 2003, a member of the Student Organization Committee (SOC) at UNCW told me that the university was indeed considering a possible quota on Christian organizations at UNC-Wilmington. During our conversation, this tenured faculty member casually stated that the university had too many Christian organizations to manage. He claimed that it would soon be necessary to stop recognizing new Christian organizations and instead have students conform their religious beliefs to those of existing organizations.

Since that conversation, my concerns that such a plan will actually be implemented have increased dramatically. This is a direct result of new information concerning the conduct of the SOC with regard to their recent de-recognition of the College Republicans (CRs).

My first contact with the SOC came last October when I learned that they were preparing to de-recognize the CRs for refusing to sign an adherence clause that would prevent them from limiting membership in their Republican club to people who are actually Republicans. I wanted to make certain that the CRs were not being singled out for de-recognition, so I called the chair of the committee.

During that conversation, I learned that religious groups would soon be forced to admit members regardless of religion or sexual orientation. That disclosure raised even more serious questions. Specifically, I wanted to know why the university thought that its diversity policies trumped the First Amendment's guarantees of freedom of association and freedom of religion.

Shortly after our conversation, the Chair of the SOC sent a memo to the advisor for the Student Government Association (SGA), who is also the Associate Director of Campus Activities and Involvement, stating the following: "I called back Mike Adams. It looks as though he's going to be investigating the history of these requirements and questioning the legality of it all. Yippee."

Far worse than the flippancy of this memo was the response issued three weeks later: "The College Republicans can either include the clauses and enjoy the status of a registered student organization or they can refuse to comply and not be registered which means losing their operating budget, etc." The next day the CRs were de-recognized by the SOC.

Here's the problem: The author of that last memo was the advisor of an organization (the SGA) that was also missing the controversial adherence clause. Nonetheless, her organization and twelve others continued to "enjoy the status of a registered student organization" after the CRs were de-recognized.

And here's another problem: One of the students serving on the SOC, who voted to de-recognize the CRs, was also a member of the SGA. Yes, you read that correctly. He actually voted to de-recognize the CRs for not having the adherence clause in their constitution despite the fact that his own group had not incorporated the adherence clause.

And I'm afraid it gets even worse than that. On November 26th, the Director of the University Union sent a memo to the Chair of the SOC stating the following:

"I spoke with the Vice Chancellor yesterday afternoon. We are in agreement that we need to limit the communication by email to all involved. If there is a student who has been speaking with Dr. Adams, then in sending the information to the committee, we are sending it to him. We very specifically do not want to be communicating with him in writing or it might show up in the next column (by Adams)."

That's right folks, she actually told people not to communicate by email in an email. And here it is in one of my columns.

Many people reading that anti-email email might ask, "What is the university trying to hide?" But I have a very different question: why is a university Vice Chancellor ordering the suppression of information that is subject to the public records laws of the State of North Carolina? Their meetings must be open, and their documents must be made available to the public upon request. This is the University of North Carolina, not the University of Beijing.

Perhaps the most disgraceful aspect of this controversy was the university's misrepresentation of the reasons for the CRs' de-recognition. One of my readers from Monmouth College asked the chair of the SOC the following: "Is it true that the CRs at UNCW lost accreditation because they would not admit Democrats?" The chair responded by saying that the CRs had violated a policy like the one at Monmouth, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of "race, creed, national origin, sexual orientation or religious affiliation." The chair knew that the CRs did not want to discriminate on the basis of any of those factors. Their sole issue was political affiliation, and she knew it. Internal memoranda indicate that she had known it since October 20th.

Even worse was the decision of another committee member to write an editorial to the local New York Times affiliate accusing the CRs of fighting for "the right to discriminate." Yet another professor accusing the CRs of trying to exclude "blacks" and "Jews" from their organization topped all this off. This accusation was also published in the local paper. Put simply, the university conducted a smear campaign against its own students, all in the name of tolerance and diversity.

When asked to apologize for his misrepresentation, the tenured English professor who accused the CRs of trying to keep out "blacks" and "Jews" refused. He said it was just a satire. I guess he really isn't that Swift. I've heard that he wears thong underwear and emits gas in public. But, remember, this is only a satire.

Even after wading through all of the stupidity and malice proffered by these forked tongues of academic idiocy, there is still no direct answer to the fundamental question: Do the diversity policies of UNCW trump the United States Constitution?

In light of all of the above, I would like to make the following predictions:

1. The university will soon impose a quota on Christian student organizations.
2. The university will tell the public that no such quota exists.
3. The university will tell the media that no such quota exists.
4. The university will tell dissenters in the university community that no such quota exists.
5. The university will attempt to illegally suppress public records concerning the quota.
6. The university will be caught red-handed in the process of fulfilling at least one of the above predictions.

Other than that, the administration will conduct itself professionally at all times.

Mike S. Adams ( is an associate professor at a University with Numerous Christians at Wilmington (UNCW). Signed copies of his new book, "Welcome to the Ivory Tower of Babel," can be ordered now on .