Money Talks

We've all heard the stories, on the news and in our own homes. There are professors who grade students down just for expressing politically incorrect points of view. There are Christian clubs that have been forced to close on some campuses. And kids who go off to college with religious and moral beliefs seemingly intact come home doubting everything you've ever taught them. A recent study of faculty members at U.S. colleges and universities gives even more cause for concern. Published by The Forum, an online journal, the study found that 67 percent of faculty members either "strongly" or "somewhat" agree that homosexuality is as acceptable as heterosexuality. Eighty-four percent support abortion rights, and 75 percent support extramarital cohabitation. With the ever-increasing number of college professors who use their classrooms to indoctrinate students, rather than educate them, the views expressed and the lack of viewpoint diversity is deeply disturbing. So what can we do about this problem? Well, a lot of folks tend to think there's very little they can do. Of course, they can try to teach their own kids how to defend their faith against skeptics. Some of us give our kids good books about how to hang on to their faith right before they leave for school. (I've recommended a favorite of mine, J. Budziszewski's How to Stay Christian in College -- you've heard me many times on this program.) And maybe we can send them BreakPoint WorldView magazine. These are all good ideas, but I'm talking about a larger scale effort that could affect all college students, not just our own. Dr. Joseph Mellichamp has what I think is a potent idea. Dr. Mellichamp is a professor at the University of Alabama and faculty representative for Christian Leadership Ministries. He's recently written a paper called, "Targeted Alumni Giving to Secular Universities." According to Dr. Mellichamp, in 2004, alumni giving in this country totaled $6.7 billion. But as he points out, college alumni don't always think about what sorts of things their well-intended donations might be funding. "When you donate unrestricted funds to your university," Mellichamp explains, "you simply have no idea how the funds are being used. . . . The professor receiving the stipend might be a competent professor . . . or he or she might be one with a cause to champion and a bully pulpit . . . from which to campaign. . . . The student group receiving your money . . . might be a group which promotes a lifestyle with which you seriously disagree." Mellichamp's suggestion is simply that we treat alumni giving as we would any other investment. Take time to do the research on what programs and courses are being offered by the university in which you are interested. Decide where you want your money to go, and then include a letter with your gift designating that it go to a specific purpose. In accepting your gift, the school is legally bound to comply with the conditions you state. It's a simple thing to do, and that one simple action could be amazingly effective in changing higher education. As Dr. Mellichamp reminds us in his paper (you can find a link to that at our website,, "Money talks." For your own kids' sake, and for the sake of all those other college students, make sure your money is saying what you want it to say.


Chuck Colson


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