EUGENE, Ore. ― Despite a public declaration that he’s an atheist, the student body president of a Christian university in Eugene isn’t in trouble with his school.
Eric Fromm wrote an article for the student newspaper last week disclosing what many on campus already knew: He doesn’t believe in God.
He says he enrolled at Northwest Christian University because he liked the school’s communication curriculum and the one-on-one attention he would get from the faculty at the 600-student school.
The university’s vice president for enrollment and student development, Michael Fuller, said he’s long known of Fromm’s lack of belief and didn’t question his election.
“He’s a man of very high character and respect,” Fuller told the Eugene Register-Guard. “He’s a great advocate for our student body, which is exactly what he’s supposed to be and do.”
“If we all had our wishes, we wish Eric would be a strong Christian man,” Fuller said. But, he said, “We’re an open and welcome community, and we meet students exactly where they’re at.”
Fromm, a senior, said he decided to set the record straight as rumors circulated on the small campus. He worried students and administrators might reject him or challenge his presidency.
But, he said, he’s gotten a lot of hugs recently. Some students have even identified with his perspective, he said.
“For the past couple years, I thought I was the only one,” he said.
Fromm said he was baptized as a Lutheran and attended a Methodist church regularly until his parents’ divorce when he was a teenager.
He said many questions remained from his Christian upbringing when he arrived in 2010 on the campus established in 1895 next to the University of Oregon.
Fromm said he still attends the university’s chapel meetings almost every week, even though students are required to attend only about half of them.
“I use it as my own personal time, to gather my thoughts,” he said.