I would not want to be a student on a college campus today. The university campus is the closest thing we have to a fiefdom in what is left of 21st Century Western civilization. Violations of free speech and student due process have hit epidemic proportions. Contrary to popular opinion, the professors with tenure are not the principal problem. It is the administrators with qualified immunity. They are gods. They are untouchable. They thrive in ideological echo chambers where they are shielded from internal criticism. Any hope of reform must come from outside the walls of the institution.
Today, I begin a two part series examining the problem on a mid-sized public university campus. Please read this series carefully. It takes the form of two letters – real letters sent to a real college administrator. Letter one explains the nature of (some) of the problems students face. Letter two will show why universities cannot be trusted to address them. It is my hope that this series will encourage students to fight back and encourage legislators to intervene.
Dear Chancellor Miller:
I am writing to request your assistance in dealing with a matter of potential viewpoint discrimination on the campus of UNC-Wilmington. The matter deals specifically with a) student group recognition and b) allocation of resources to groups already recognized by UNCW.
Over the course of the last semester, four prospective student political groups are reporting substantial difficulty working with the administrators here at the university. A free market group, a pro-life group, a Second Amendment group, and a libertarian group are expressing similar complaints about administrative obstacles experienced during their application for official recognition. Three of the groups have approached me directly with their complaints. Information about the difficulties of the fourth group has come to me indirectly. The commonality between these groups is obvious. Each advocates a political agenda contrary to campus orthodoxy.
My concerns are exacerbated by reports of difficulties experienced by religious groups that have already been granted official student group status. Last night, I received an email from the parent of a UNCW student who reports that her daughter's Christian organization has experienced trouble with the administration. She writes, "During (her) freshman year the group met every week in Fisher. Over time they had to decrease their meetings because there was never a room available."
Today, I made a reference to this issue on social media. In response, a UNCW faculty member wrote me directly with the claim that this "low man on the totem pole" problem is a common one with campus religious organizations. (The professor) urged me to speak to the leaders of various religious organizations on campus to get a sense of the difficulties they may have faced. I declined to do so for reasons I wish to explain briefly.
If I were to survey these leaders then I would be taking time from my schedule in order to conduct an investigation into viewpoint discrimination. That isn't a part of my job. I believe it is a part your job. As chancellor of UNCW, you are responsible for the conduct of all administrators on this campus. If there is viewpoint discrimination happening on your watch then you have a duty to eradicate it.
Some of the claims brought to my attention may be false. But I doubt that they are all without merit. Past experience tells me otherwise. So I write today to give you an opportunity to show leadership on this issue. If you decline to investigate or if you deem the allegations so insignificant that they merit no response then I will look into the matter myself. My investigation would begin with a series of public records requests.
With that in mind, please make certain that the administration preserves all internal documents related to a) the student group application process, and b) official student group requests for funding and space allocations.
The preponderance of faculty and administrators adhering to and advancing a secular progressive ideology is such that ideological diversity is sometimes compromised on our campus. That is why we must always be on the lookout for patterns of viewpoint discrimination, whether motivated by ordinary negligence or malicious intent.
Thanks in advance for your cooperation,
Mike S. Adams
The university did indeed respond with a three-day investigation of itself. Unsurprisingly, the university has cleared itself of all wrongdoing. Also unsurprisingly, the author has enlisted the help of outside investigators at the Alliance Defending Freedom, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, and Leadership Institute. In other words, the investigation really isn’t over. It’s only beginning.
…to be continued.
Mike Adams is a criminology professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and author of Letters to a Young Progressive: How To Avoid Wasting Your Life Protesting Things You Don't Understand.