A strange situation has unfolded in North Carolina. Some four years ago, a trustee of North Carolina Central University named Bishop Eddie Long set up a “satellite campus” of that university at his New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, GA. It turns out this was not properly authorized, and the program was never accredited, so all the degrees that have been awarded there, are worthless.

In case you’ve never heard of NCCU, it’s part of the University of North Carolina system, making it a public university. UNC’s current administration is mystified as to where this program came from, how it operated for four years, or how it managed to get started outside of the usual satellite-campus creation program (which — had it been followed — would have ended up with the New Birth/NCCU program being properly accredited).

I’m mystified as to the following:

  1. How, exactly, is it that a church (i.e. a religious institution) was allowed to operate a public university program in the first place? Have these people never read the First Amendment?

  2. What reason was there for a North Carolina public university to operate a program in another state (Georgia) — a state which already has its own public university system?

  3. How could this program have been created without the knowledge of NCCU’s chancellor or director of distance education?

I truly doubt this was a rogue, stealth program operated by a lone trustee … I’m sure — contrary to their denials — that NCCU’s administration was fully aware of this. Essentially, Bishop Eddie Long and NCCU scammed the students, making them believe they’d end up with accredited degrees after four years of coursework. I wonder if anyone will be prosecuted for fraud? Probably not … North Carolina is, after all, part of the Bible Belt where clergy are considered perfect and can do no wrong, and anything done in the name of a church is God’s will and never to be questioned. Just another example of how Christians will do anything in Jesus’ name … including break the law, violate university rules and procedures, scam students, and worst of all, trample separation of church and state. After all, Jesus was an unaccredited teacher, wasn’t he? That makes this all OK, no?

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