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Faith of college president becomes an issue

When Althia Collins became the first Muslim president in the United Methodist Church's national network of 124 affiliated colleges, she kept the news to herself.

Collins became the president of Bennett College in July. She didn't volunteer information about her religion when she interviewed for the job at the historically black women's college of about 520 students. But by late summer, alumnae across the country had learned that Collins was Muslim, and some weren't happy.

…Though Collins did not discuss her faith, word of it began to leak out this summer. In an anonymous letter to a Greensboro newspaper, the Carolina Peacemaker, a writer said that Collins was mounting "a cultural takeover" of Bennett as a non-Methodist leader of "Muslim persuasion…"

…On Sept. 19, Collins met with the student body and dealt with the complaints, including the one about her faith. "Yes, I am Muslim," she said, according to The Bennett Banner. "And I do not believe that will have an effect on the way I perform my duties."

Few in the student body, composed almost entirely of Christians, have criticized her for being Muslim…


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