Information icon.svg Results for the 2023 RationalWiki Moderator Election have now been posted. Thank you for participating in this election, and congratulations to the winners!

Patrick Henry College

From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Christ died for
our articles about

Icon christianity.svg
Devil's in the details

Patrick Henry Christian College(PHC) a.k.a. "God's Harvard"[1] is a college in Purcellville, Virginia, which caters to Christians, especially those who have been homeschooled. The college teaches that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, and creationism is taught as literal fact. Michael Farris, the founder and chancellor emeritus of the college—now President of the conservative Christian watchdog group Alliance Defending Freedom—stated on The Colbert Report that if a student was to write "Goddidit" on a biology test, that would be a correct answer.[1] Students may not drink alcohol, smoke or mess with the opposite sex outside marriage during term time on or off campus.

The school is clearly attractive to outspoken Evangelical and political leaders, many of whom have visited PHCC to offer chapel messages, lectures, and commencement addresses.[2]


PHC is accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS), a creationist accreditation authority, to offer Bachelors degrees.[3]

The college requires incoming students and faculty and staff to sign a "Statement of Faith."[4]

Main objective[edit]

One of the primary aims of Patrick Henry College(PHC) is to train committed Christians for government posts,[6] and many graduates of the College found positions in the Bush administration.[7][8][9][10] The UK based Wilberforce Academy jointly set up by the Alliance Defense Fund (US based) and the Christian Legal Centre (UK based) has a similar purpose.

A 2019 article in the Washington Examiner reports that PHC is among the top three conservative colleges in the nation for the number of its graduates going to work as White House interns.[11]


Mass resignation of professors, heretics, etc.[edit]

In 2006, five professors at PHC, who at the time constituted an entire third of the faculty, resigned from the institution, alluding to the rather obvious fact that academic freedom is badly proscribed there. One of their complaints concerned the firing of a library clerk for heresy, viz., for believing in baptismal regeneration along with all Eastern Christians, Roman Catholics, Lutherans, and Anglicans.[12]

One of the resigning professors, David Noe, a minister of the fundamentalist Orthodox Presbyterian Church, was under fire for writing an article containing the blasphemous suggestion that any books besides the Bible possessed any truthful or otherwise useful content.[13]

Forced resignation of President Walker[edit]

On October 15th, 2014, the immediate resignation of college president Dr. Graham Walker was announced at a surprise all-campus meeting. Walker was ousted by the Board of Trustees along with the help of the independently-run Alumni Association. The college has refused to announce the reasons for the sudden departure, but it appears that for several months the Board had been struggling to gain Walker's cooperation with an independent investigation regarding sexual assault allegations, as well as the future of growth and accreditation for the college.[14][15]

Sexual assault policy[edit]

The prevailing mood at PHC is that bodies are corrupting and the onus is on women to avoid tempting the men. One former student shared this with The New Republic several years back:[16]

They basically at no point accounted for sexual assault (cases where girls’ ‘purity’ was taken from them) and left many girls who’d been victims in the past feeling ashamed.

One student, Claire Spear claimed that a man made serious sexual contact without asking her permission first; she was found lying in grass crying and saying she'd been violated. Her accusation was overlooked and the college disciplinary system was more concerned that she had been drinking alcohol. Another female student fell asleep after a party and woke with a man assaulting her.

The administration encouraged me to not go to the police and said that, because alcohol was involved and I was violating the rules there, they hinted that I could be expelled if I brought light to the incident, the focus was the alcohol. I drank. I sinned. I deserved to be assaulted in the middle of the night.

When an anonymous woman reported that a male student sent threats that included an email claiming he "wanted to forcibly take my virginity," the dean told the woman

The choices you make and the people you choose to associate with, the way you try to portray yourself, will affect how people treat you.

In later meetings she was told to consider how the clothing she wore put certain "ideas ... in men’s minds." The dean would not consider asking security to guard her against the threatening man.

The College (undoubtedly noticing gaps in policy) later found the need to revise their Student Honor Code[17] and now have put in place a process for filing a formal grievance, which includes sexual misconduct.[18]

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Theresa Scanlan, Miss America 2011[19]

External links[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Colbert Report, October 21 2008
  2. From the PHCC YouTube playlist for Commencement, accessed on Mar. 19, 2020.
  3. PHC is accredited at the "Category II" level, for institutions offering Bachelors degrees, per the TRACS Accreditation Manual. See also TRACS Members. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  4. Statement of Faith at PHC.
  5. Statement of Biblical Worldview (Attested to by all trustees, administrators, and faculty) at PHC.
  6. CollegeData profile.
  7. Lorelei Jackson And Mauricio Rosas, PHC Could It Be A Front For An Extremist Madrasa? Archived from the original at, 12 May 2004. The article was reposted on Free Republic so wingnuts can show proper outrage).
  8. Mauricio Rosas and Lorelei Jackson, PHC: Is it a breeding ground for the Christian Republican Reich?, 1 December 2004.
  9. American Madrasas: Inside the Stepford Republiban Factory, Daily Kos, 2005.
  10. German reporter goes underground at Fundamentalist Christian Madrassa PHC. The Greanville Post, November 23, 2012. (Excerpts from a story in Die Zeit entitled Die Elite-Uni für Amerikas religiöse Fundamentalisten).
  11. Trump White House Opens Door to Christian Conservative Colleges. Washington Examiner, May 6, 2019.
  12. Michael Alison Chandler, 5 Professors Quit Religious School. The Washington Post, 19 May 2006.
  13. Sheryl Henderson Blunt, Shakeup at PHC. Christianity Today, 15 May 2006.
  14. Kiera Feldman, Why Did the Ultra-Religious, Anti-Gay President of "God's Harvard" Suddenly Resign? The New Republic, 30 October 2014.
  15. Morgan Lee, PHC President Resigns Amid Board Disagreement. Christianity Today, 16 October 2014.
  16. Kiera Feldman, Sexual Assault at God's Harvard. The New Republic, 17 February 2014.
  17. PHCC website, accessed on Mar. 19, 2020
  18. PHCC website, accessed on Mar. 19, 2020
  19. Teresa Scanlan, Miss America 2011, begins college life at Virginia’s PHC. The Washington Post, 17 September 2012
  20. Lindsay See, The Federalist Society.
  21. Lindsay See alumni profile. Patrick Henry Christian College.