Eric Fromm, the student body president at Northwest Christian University in Eugene, Ore., “came out” last week as an atheist.
“I don’t have to hide anymore,” said Fromm. “I know that people accept me for who I am.”
In an article in the university’s Beacon Bolt newspaper, 21-year-old Fromm said, “I couldn’t force myself to believe in God.”
According to The Register-Guard, Fromm was baptized Lutheran and attended a Methodist church until the divorce of his parents when he was a teenager. He still questioned the way he was raised in the Christian church even before he stepped foot in NCU in 2010.
A Canby High School graduate, Fromm chose to attend NCU not for its religious affiliations, but because it had a good communications program.
Michael Fuller, the university’s vice president for enrollment and student development, said he’s known about Fromm’s views for years and does not seem to have a problem with it.
“He’s a man of very high character and respect,” Fuller said about Fromm. “He’s a great advocate for our student body, which is exactly what he’s supposed to be and do.
“I want students like Eric here … students who are looking to explore their faith and willing to look hard and make their faith their own,” Fuller said.
“If we all had our wishes, we wish Eric would be a strong Christian man,” Fuller added. But at the same time, he said, “We’re an open and welcome community, and we meet students exactly where they’re at.”
However, not everyone in the university is happy. Writing in an email to The Register-Guard, the author noted that NCU’s student government’s purpose, according to the school’s website, is “to encourage students academically, spiritually and socially.”
“With an atheist president, it doesn’t make sense how this mission can be carried out,” the email writer said.
The Register-Guard reports that Fromm still respects his peers on the 600-student college campus.