A parent wrote to me last week asking for my honest assessment of my university. His reason for writing is that his son is enrolling at UNC-Wilmington in the fall. He directly asked whether I would send my own son to the university where I teach. He also asked some other pointed questions. I thought my answers would make an informative column for parents who are about to send their Christian children to secular universities like UNCW. So here goes. His unedited questions and my responses follow:
1. On a scale of 1 to 100 (1 = Hillsdale College and 100 = UNC Chapel Hill), how liberal would you say UNCW is? Why?
I would say 90. I know of several genuinely conservative professors here at UNCW. That is probably several more than at Chapel Hill. Regardless, most UNCW social science and humanities departments lack even one single conservative voice. So I would give UNCW an “F” on intellectual diversity as opposed to the “F-minus” I would give to UNC-Chapel Hill.
2. How supportive/antagonistic are the faculty at UNCW toward Christianity/Christians?
The support is almost entirely lacking and the antagonism is pervasive. There is, however, variation from one department to the next. Christian students just need to be careful in their selection of general studies requirements as well as general electives. Be very careful when taking courses in philosophy. Try to avoid English, Sociology, and Education altogether. If your son has any questions, send him to my office. I'll make sure he avoids the more outspoken anti-Christian professors.
3. How receptive/antagonistic are the students at UNCW of Christianity/Christians, i.e. are they open to discussing and considering it when engaged by a fellow student?
There is a small but growing Gaystapo on our campus. There are also some very militant feminist students. Two ways to avoid trouble are 1) to live off campus with like-minded roommates (the Resident Assistants, who are themselves students, sometimes facilitate censorship of religious opinions) and 2) avoid taking classes ending with the word "studies." These two measures alone will help avoid many of the more militant students.
4. If you had a son, would you encourage him to attend UNCW (of course, assuming it met his major, personal, etc . . . requirements)?
I would not. Given the current leadership in the Dean of Students Office, I would probably avoid the university altogether. If the university manages to replace the Dean of Students (and most of the administrators in the Division of Student Affairs) in the near future I will reassess my position. Under the current regime, however, I would not send my son to UNCW to join a fraternity (or any other student group) and risk being subjecting to the sort of arbitrary decision-making that characterizes the current campus judicial process. I am not exaggerating when I say that it is among the most arbitrary, capricious, and unjust systems in the entire nation. We have already gone to the North Carolina legislature twice to remedy abuses of student rights that originated here at UNCW. Thankfully, the Republican majority has put an end to civil rights abuses previously neglected when the Democrats were in control in Raleigh.
5. Which Christian group(s) on campus would you encourage your son to join and why?
Cru. These guys have become hopelessly politically correct. I would join Cru and pressure them to start doing something meaningful on campus. For the most part, they chalk sidewalks and have pizza parties. I would suggest going to Cru meetings and passing out pictures of aborted babies an asking them when they are going to join a real crusade against a real injustice. Crusading for pizza gets old, especially while so many babies are being conceived and aborted within the so-called Christian student community.
6. Which secular group(s) on campus would you encourage your son to join and why?
Join the atheist club and ask really difficult questions.
7. What careers do Criminology students from UNCW normally pursue? How is the job market for these types of jobs?
They often pursue careers in local, state, and federal law enforcement. There are also opportunities to work as probation officers, which is not a bad job if you land a federal position. The market is decent and relatively stable in this general area of employment. Hence, I think Criminology is a much better major than Sociology, although the two are closely related.
8. On a scale of 1 to 100 (1 = Free Market/Capitalism and 100 = Socialistic/Communistic), how would you describe the Cameron School of Business’ “world/business view”? Why?
The Cameron School of Business is very free market oriented. In fact, it is the best school on campus. For example, our Economics and Finance Department is loaded with conservatives of a very high caliber. If I had a son who insisted on going to UNCW, I would only consent if he agreed to major in Economics, Finance, Accounting, Management or some other major in the Cameron School.
9. Do you have any students you mentor at UNCW (outside of your professional Criminology role)? If yes, (if you are comfortable sharing this) what does this look like on a weekly basis?
A couple. Some are dissatisfied with their current advisors and come to me for additional life advice. We meet occasionally but not on any formal time schedule.
10. What are some good churches in the area that you would recommend as a local church for students?
I attend Port City Community Church. Their college ministry, which is called Overflow, is excellent. I wish the sermons in the regular service would focus more on Scripture and less on pop psychology and self-improvement. But, then again, no church is perfect. In fact, if I found a perfect church and joined it then it wouldn't be perfect anymore.
In closing, I just want to reassure you that a Christian student can survive - even in a school as messed up as UNCW - as long as he does at least two things to make the road easier. First, he has to avoid taking classes within the overtly anti-Christian majors like Sociology and English. Second, he has to keep attending church. Most importantly, make sure he takes a trip to a well-grounded Christian worldview camp after his freshman year (see www.Summit.org). After all, ideas do have consequences. And refining one's worldview is a lifelong adventure.