Patrick Henry, 112 cops, Two students and Two arrests

So we had our stop at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia on Thursday.

We were definitely not allowed on the campus of this small, very conservative, non-denominational, Protestant school. Patrick Henry, with just about 325 students (but with a goal to have at least 5,000 in the next few years), was founded out of the right-wing home-school movement. 85% of PHC’s students come from home-schooled backgrounds.

The school has seemed to garner some favor in the eyes of the radical right and even the Bush Administration. PHC’s stated goals are to teach and train young Christians to serve the nation in public service and to shape our nation and culture with “timeless biblical values.” Out of 80 graduates from their first graduating class in 2004 (the school was founded in 2000), seven students were hired as White House interns; this is more than any other college in the United States!

Two of our Riders attempted to take invitations on campus for a community dinner we had scheduled on Thursday evening. Needless to say, they were promptly and quickly arrested by the overwhelmingly embarrassing amount of law enforcement personnel present that day. We found out later that over 110 law enforcement personnel were present on and around the campus.

We were only able to talk to two students, ironically I was the one (you know… the “political junkie” of the bus) to actually speak to the guys. The two guys just happened to be hanging out at the same coffee shop in Purcellville I was hanging out in doing a little work on the video of the day’s events. Surprisingly, both students admitted they were embarrassed by their school’s response to our visit and both admitted that Patrick Henry students are NOT ready to work in the real world and are disadvantaged when it comes to working with minority groups! The students also talked at length about some of the disconnect between some students at PHC and the Administration. I’m quickly learning that no matter how bleak a situation, a bright spot appears somewhere.

Also… feast your eyes on the stomach-turning, hate-laced letter the school sent to students’ parents – that is, if you think you can handle it.

Here are some links to some news articles written on PHC:

I’ll definitely post on Messiah College, where we were at on Friday, as soon as I can.

Also of interest… yet another stomach-turning piece of work. This one (14 pages worth if you dare to read it all, or if you can handle reading it all) is the response given to the Soulforce Equality Ride from Dr. Paul Owen at Montreat College in North Carolina. Catch it Adam Britt’s blog.

2 Responses to “Patrick Henry, 112 cops, Two students and Two arrests”
  1. Joe T. says:

    Keep going, Matt. You’re doing the right thing morally. You have that on your side.

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  1. […] This is a video posted by Equality Rider Matt Hill Comer, documenting the vigil at Patrick Henry College and the reasons for the visit. Students who are being “prepared to lead the nation and shape the culture” could benefit from a little more knowledge about the fellow citizens among whom they will be working and living. It turns out that the PHC students who spoke with Matt were not only embarrassed by the way the college handled the Equality Ride visit, they also “readily admitted that they and their peers would be at an extreme disadvantage when their time comes to enter the ‘real world.’” […]

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