TAKOMA PARK, Md. --- The administration of Washington Adventist University has taken preemptive action in the event that Adventist former pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson officially enters the 2016 presidential race. Effective immediately, all students will be required to work campus-based phone banks for the local Ready for Ben chapter.
"Preliminary presidential campaign work of this nature will be excellent experience for our students regardless of their major. Never before has an Adventist been this high profile in political circles," said university spokesperson Mary Underwood.
Campus opinions regarding the new policy vary drastically. Students raised reading Dr. Carson's books responded enthusiastically to the news and have hung banners in the student center.
"Think Big! Think BEN 20016!" reads the banner hung on the entrance. "America should be in gifted hands," reads another.
"He may have separated Siamese twins but he will unite America!" shouted a student organizer at a rally to massive applause.
Other students are less enthused. "I can't just give a free pass to him because he's an Adventist," said Adventist Today student correspondent Seth Pollock. "I like that he stresses the importance of education but comparing gays to pedophiles and Obamacare to slavery? Come on!"
Pollock has taken to the student newspaper to recruit an opposition group to the university's pro-Carson stance. The group is open to any student with a GPA of 3.0 or higher and will be called The Conscientious Objectors.
A massive debate has erupted among the university's Theology faculty about the implications of an Adventist president of the United States. The biggest questions so far are about whether the Second Advent will be delayed. "America is obviously not going to give power to the beast under Adventist leadership," said Missiology professor Brian Rotterman in his take on the controversy.
The General Conference has also weighed in on the matter saying it supports the decision by WAU and asks students to set aside politically partisan views in support of a higher cause. The GC did, however, offer a word of caution, advising all Adventists to support Ben Carson "but not because he's Adventist" so as to keep the separation of Church and State firmly in members' minds.
Dr. Carson himself has yet to say anything definitive either way about a presidential run, limiting himself to rousing speeches to his base. "It's too early to tell if he will run," admits the WAU campus-wide email released to announce the mandatory phone work. "But we are Adventists and we are big into getting ready."