Faculty Meetings

As the uploader says: “Because sunshine is the best disinfectant, now for the first time in its history, a Bob Jones University faculty meeting is public. This one, in particular, covers the changes in its academic program.”

Edit: the embed code doesn’t seem to be working so you can CLICK HERE to hear the audio.

Synopsis: We’re an awesome, excellent, outstanding institution! We’re biblical, Christlike, and awesome! Oh, yeah and by the way, a bunch of you are fired. Have a nice life!

It’s awesome when your pink slip comes with a sermon.

171 thoughts on “Faculty Meetings”

    1. I hated those things and that’s without even knowing the double meaning.

      1st – first year student? There’s a word for that: freshman.

      1st place? I hadn’t done anything yet.

      1st in line? I wasn’t. And those lines at the dining common were pretty long sometimes!

      1st to get to choose which bunkbed you wanted? Nope.

      It just was an awkward phrase all around. And now knowing there was a double entendre, I’m really ticked that they had the gall to hand that out to students. Not sure if they were idiots or perverts.

  1. I’m no fan of BJU, but you are misrepresenting this. None of the changes go into effect until all current students in the majors graduate. So, these changes won’t take place for years, giving teachers the time to find something else. And this wasn’t news to any of the professors this affects. This is simply making something official to all faculty at once so untrue rumors don’t spread.

    1. I’ll give them this: they seem to be handling it better than most businesses. It really sucks to read that layoffs are coming in the newspapers.

    2. Incorrect, Matt. The Provost’s own wife wasn’t aware that she was fired until a meeting that Darren Lawson had with the Fine Arts faculty AFTER this meeting was over. Linda St. John didn’t know, either. One faculty member away, working on her PhD, and under the assumption that she would eventually return as department head, found out from a SECRETARY YESTERDAY.

      These are facts. Not as you wish them to be, no doubt, but facts nonetheless.

      1. Grant – Most people would have been told by Feb 1 if they were not going to have a position next year. All the people in that faculty meeting have a job at least through the end of the year, if not for several years. At a former employer of mine, if your position was eliminated you had about 3o minutes to gather your stuff and guards showed you out (b/c of sensitive information we worked on).

        Losing your job sucks, but this is a pretty decent way of handling it.

        1. Woah… you think it is pretty decent to do a promo on the university with incorrect facts in it, announce closures and then give bonuses??? I guess you think it is also pretty decent to spend millions on Dining Common renovations and a movie that is way, way over budget before firing people too. Nice….

        2. Sorry, but you’re just incorrect. Normal operating procedure for years has been as you described, yes; this year, however, “normal” no longer applies. I’m sorry, but you’re just mistaken.

      2. It seems to me that such a major announcement that will affect so many people (and it bugs me that he keeps referring to people in terms of “programs”) should have been made by the university president, and not one of his henchmen.

        1. Not to be defending BJU…but in defense of the president, I have heard that he is quite ill right now. To me, this is just crazy that this audio would be open to the public and that they wouldn’t talk to each department of the school individually. Strange.

        2. I took him to mean “programs” and not “people.” Just because there will be no French major doesn’t mean there will be no French classes, and they will still need a French teacher. I haven’t heard anything to the contrary. Of course, if an entire department is phased out, some positions are going to go with it…

      3. I didn’t hear any names of people who were fired. I took away that if anyone’s position was eliminated through the reorganization, it would be at least 3 or 4 years for it to be phased out. Am I wrong? Is anyone being told they are not being re-upped NEXT year?

  2. I listened to this on Facebook last night. Funny how the guy gets all choked up thinking about the poor high school students who didn’t have a chance to get a good education, but plows through the program cuts spouting his justification for these changes.

    Not saying that changes didn’t need to be made, but that there are better ways of doing it. BJU calls itself a “ministry” when it wants its faculty and staff to burn out serving them, but then calls itself a “business” when it makes decisions that hurt so many people.

    1. Yes! Why aren’t they consistent in their message. What are they a Ministry or a business? Maybe they are inconsistent with that because it’s hard to sell the image of a cult training facility.
      Save the “Ministry at all costs!

      1. I mis-spoke. The members of the inner court will do whatever it takes to save their Ministry… your “ministry” however, is no longer sustainable..

  3. I’ve heard PCC is tightening the belt as well. Not sure this is a sign of the decline of fundy U or just the economy? They are a business, bottom line. You provide a service for a fee. Business needs to constantly evaluate the bottom line or you don’t stay in business. That I can’t ding them for. In perspective our boss got chocked up when he had to lay off some plumbers. Most boss’s don’t want to hurt their people, lost or not. I work at a hospital and we believe in our mission as well. It’s just the bottom line.

    1. One problem, Fred, is that BJU is given latitude to behave as a business when it’s convenient, and then, at another juncture, to behave as a ministry. Speaking from experience, people get whiplash from trying to keep up with which hat the administration is donning, through which lens the employees are supposed to be viewing any given situation.

      BJU is a for-profit, para-church organization that cloaks itself with the trappings of religiosity when it helps them to skirt accountability. They’re at the same time both fish and fowl, yet neither fowl nor fish. And they’ve learned to wield that either/neither with uncanny dexterity.

      1. Spot on, Grant. To put it another way, lets turn the tables and say that a long standing dept head just got a very lucrative offer from another University. He has three kids with another on the way. His wife has some health problems, stays home with the kids, money it really tight. What hat would BJU wear when when this employee in good standing who needs to make a good financial move for his family confronts the leadership with his letter of resignation? I’m begging the question, not so much asking… 😉

        1. They lost tax-exempt status bcause of the blatant racism BJU was practicing (and teaching) at the time. Whether or not BJU has regained it, I don’t know.

        2. Is that the white students can’t date black students rule? Were there actually African American students there?

        3. No, they haven’t regained their tax exempt status. Frankly I’m not sure there’s any going back now. They’ve taken to the “for profit” route with a vengeance.

          I don’t think it’ll save them, though. I think the chickens are roosting as we speak.

  4. So let me get this straight.

    When BJU faces budget challenges in their “ministry” they can and must make hard decisions, choose to do things differently, and abandon certain things that would be beneficial perhaps, but cannot be afforded. The bottom line is the bottom line.

    When parents in a BJU orbit church choose to send their children to local Universities and Colleges because they can’t afford to have them go away to the world’s most unusual university, they are “Allowing money to determine God’s will” and “refusing to trust that God will provide”

    I think BJU is probably doing some wise things here, but the irony certainly is thick.

  5. If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s drawn out meetings.

    A bunch of hot air about how great they are and you could have fit the actual substance of that meeting on a teaspoon.

  6. I’m glad that they’re discontinuing cosmetology. Now, maybe the instructors can go to a real beauty school and make a real instructor wage.

    And, the students will get to wear normal clothes, live like a normal person, and finish their certification in a year instead of 2 (which is what I believe BJU had there’s as).

    1. I totally agree.

      Those instructors would be a lot better off if they pooled together and started their own cosmetology school. Students would benefit too.

    2. There is a Christian way to cut hair??? I realize there is a way to cut hair for Christians, it’s the same as for heathens, atheists and Anglicans. :mrgreen:

      1. I imagine they teach you the Baptist and how to cut the dead ends off of some LONG hair for women, and that’s it. Forget about learning color, and don’t even think about breaking out a razor or texturing shears.

  7. “It’s awesome when your pink slip comes with a sermon.”

    Not to mention public bonuses for others. And you’re expected to applaud their good fortune.

  8. This isn’t just common to the fundy world. I was laid off from my job last year because everything was being outsourced to save money. Meanwhile the CEO is hosting golf games, buying NFL season tickets, and refurnishing his office all on the company bankroll. And the VP who suggested the layoffs got a huge bonus.

    I hear the company sold one of it’s divisions about six months after the layoffs. Guess shutting down the facility I worked at didn’t offset the CEO’s expenses.

    1. Sad but true.

      What’s so upsetting is that Jesus Himself said that a leader must be a servant of all. Christians – whether they’re in a ministry or a business – ought to keep their word, even to their own detriment. One ought to be willing to accept loss yourself in order to fulfill your promises to others.

      “Being worldly” is so much more than how the IFB defines it. It’s not wearing trendy clothes or listening to music with a beat. “Being worldly” is only caring for the bottom line and not showing concern and compassion for your employees. “Being worldly” is telling those who disagree with you to shut up, instead of listening to their point of view and appreciating their rebuke which may alert you to your own errors. “Being worldly” is being full of pride and being unwilling to acknowledge doing anything wrong. “Being worldly” is hiding your sins and putting on a facade of perfection instead of being humble and transparent.

      Worldliness is not a hair style; it’s not a piercing or a tattoo; it’s a heart attitude that exalts oneself instead of one’s neighbor.

  9. And now that the other sold-out, underpaid employees see that their future really isn’t that secure, they might start checking out other employment options.

    Layoffs of this nature tend to spark a change of view toward the company.

  10. I’ve been fired a couple of times, and laid off several more, but in no case was my boss arrogant enough to make me sit through a long spiel about how marvellous and glorious the employer was, before telling me I was getting the axe. This really beats all.

    1. Oh, jumpin’ Jehosaphat! I wrote the above before I heard the very end, where, after telling a bunch of people they’re canned due to budget cuts, he actually hands out bonuses to others!
      That goes beyond brazen arrogance; it goes beyond being oblivious to how things look. It transcends human decency.

      1. Somebody needs to rethink that bank’s logo. It looks like a financial graph where the earnings or stock prices have been going sharply down.

  11. Let’s not forget they could sell a painting. They could put the faculty on a schedule where they could do some recruiting for their program. These people are getting the ax for the administration’s failures. It also smacks of major shut down. Quite frankly, I wonder who’s running the place. The chancellor’s in Colorado. The president’s at his mountain home in Tryon.

    1. I half joked a few weeks ago about a Saigon style airlift to the Canary Islands, after all assets have been liquidated… 😮

    1. Selling the jet the Jones’ fly around in would be a nice place to start. Bet that selling that thing could have saved a few f/s members jobs just in the cost of jet fuel.

  12. Notice that they are getting rid of programs that aren’t profitable, but they are going to START other programs. The only way they know that these programs will be successful is because they’ve looked at the numbers of secular colleges/universities and noticed that areas like sports etc. are big money makers for their schools.

    He was also saying that the associates degrees will be “revised” (made easier). Here’s why… Bob Jones accepts nearly everyone that applies provided they are “christian”. Since many of their potential students are not necessarily Rhodes Scholars in the making, they end up losing students in programs that they shouldn’t. You shouldn’t lose associates degree students because the academics are too hard. So BJU is probably going to “dumb down” some of these areas to draw students and therefore get the revenue that they are losing in other areas.

    What a joke… that guy crying because he’s firing people and then turning around and telling this same group of people that they’ve been handing out bonuses to others? I’m fine with them giving bonuses, but stating in front of other faculty who these people are and then to top it off, giving bonuses on the spot to others while their newly fired peers sit and watch is beyond wrong!

    I understand that institutions discontinue majors and have to let go faculty here and there. But Bob Jones University has many faculty members who will NOT be able to teach in a college setting other than a place like Bob Jones because of the academic inbreeding that has gone on there for years and years. Many of them are so academically, emotionally, and mentally dependent on BJU for their well-being that they will actually never leave the school or the city of Greenville. I guarantee you that many of these people will end up working over in the distribution center or at the academy, or at the press or finding a random job in Greenville to support their family just because they can’t or wont leave the school. It is SICK. It went on while the school was supposedly in good shape and it will continue to be so. The school prides themselves on preparing the new generation to succeed in the “real world”, but a ton of these students graduate and work random jobs at BJ or living within 20 minutes of the school. I have friends that were pastoral majors and missions majors at Bob Jones that graduated 5-6 years ago and work on staff at the school doing something totally unrelated to their major. They are likely to live and die at the school. So sad.

  13. @Matt – no public employer I know would have the chutzpah to honor employees with BONUSES the same day they start forcing people out. Some of these people will have very few options (read: none) for work.

      1. While I’m sure this happens with fiances, too, 😯 I can also agree: in the finance world, there ARE definitely companies who fire people and give bonuses out publicly. On the same day.

    1. Just today there was an article on the front page of my local paper. A local bank merged with another bank, and something like 900 people in this area will lose their jobs now. At the same time, a certain number of executives now get to split a multi-million dollar bonus, have three year’s salary all at once, and have their health care paid for for three years.

  14. What was more alarming to me were the GPA of the incoming students. Wow. My church used to spout that BJU was the “Ivy League of Christian Schools”. To me it is more of the “Community College of Christian Schools”. Jerry Falwell always used to pound in our heads (other than tithing) that if it were “Christian it out to be better”. Liberty has really upped it’s admission standards from basically any student with a pulse to at least a minimum of 2.5. We got smacked (and almost lost)our accredidation because of our subpar entry GPA.

    The academic inbreeding is almost a joke. Did anyone notice that in Division of Graduate Studies Seminary that NO PROFESSOR has an advanced degree outside of BJU? One professor has an undergrad for SUNY in forestry. How can a university allow this and be taken seriously?

    And one last thing, how in the world can a school like BJU add any type of sports major? Here’s a clue, major college athletics = sports type major. College athletics = practical learning environment for the students. As a BJU sports major student, where can you earn your practical experience for the major? At a society (trigger word…starting to shake) basketball game?

    If you are going to be a Bible college, be a Bible college. Don’t cheapen your product by looking around at other schools and copy them. That is just lame. All you are them is a business, not a ministry. Good Grief! (Palm firly slapping head) 😯

    1. 2.5 is a middling C average. That would not be considered a competitive admission standard in the real world– unless the students with that GPA also have perfect SAT scores or have received Nobel prizes or something similar.

  15. How about the fact that most of the BJU faculty that will be let go do not have a regionally accredited degree?? Where will they get a job???

    Funny that he thinks the economy is part of the decline in student enrollment. The economy is making college very attractive to many, many people. Enrollment is up all over my state. Some of it is from students laid off from manufacturing/textile companies (trade affected job losses certified by DOL lead to 2 years of free college), but also, it is hard to find jobs right now, so going to school is an easier choice for some students–even grad school.

  16. Did you note BJ3’s insight near the end – stuff about Christian schools closing all over and he didn’t know from where the next batch would come. Sounds like cushion for bigger news.

      1. Some are good and some are bad, of course. I went to a Christian school that was really, really good, at least academically. Financially, it was so mis-managed that it almost had to close right before my junior year. Fortunately, the school was saved and it is now in strong financial condition, plus the academics and even the sports teams are excellent. On the other hand, the Christian school I taught at for four years recently shut down after a long, slow decline, poor academics, and a power-trippin’ pastor. Too bad it took so long.

    1. Just proof that without a well oiled machine of indoctrinating “pastors” leading students to BJU, they can’t compete on an open marketplace with the other schools that have upped their quality and available programs and proved how good they actually are by getting accredited while maintaining their Christian identity. And guess what, those schools ended up not even having to compromise (since the regional accrediting bodies don’t care about the spiritual atmosphere of the school and will not make you change it.)

  17. Glad to see my alma mater Liberty has improved in many, many ways (left the fundy world years ago) and is adding majors yearly. Opening a new school of engineering and had one of the best bar exam averages of a law school in the country. They have had to cap enrollment the last few years to make sure facilities and scholastics keep up with enrollment. The problem with rabid fundy schools is the rabid fundyism, not the economy.

  18. All right, guys, I’m going to play devil’s advocate here. You can start the stoning at your leisure.

    First, BJU deserves some credit for posting this faculty meeting publicly. Obviously they have heard the recent criticisms and are trying to answer them. Their answers may not be what you like, but they should get credit for at least trying.

    Secondly, some people on this site are just plain going to disagree with anything BJU says or does, I suppose out of principle or habit or whatever. I am a BJU grad who finds plenty of room to criticize the university, but I don’t find it here. Yes, they are eliminating programs, and eventually the faculty in those programs will have to find other positions in or out of the school. Some of the faculty have already been let go, as we all know, and there is plenty of controversey about that, with good reason. But I’m addressing just what was in this meeting: some programs will be eliminated, ask your dean how this will affect you. There is nothing wrong with that. If BJU made no changes to its faculty or programs, you would find fault with them for being irresponsible and refusing to face financial facts. They can’t win.

    As far as the bonuses go: as I understand it, the people who were recently let go had already been eliminated by this meeting, so presumably they were not there to have their noses rubbed in their colleagues bonuses. BTW, it is also standard to keep giving out bonuses even as businesses lay off employees. In my office, we lost two people during the course of this economic disaster. The rest of us still got our bonuses. Mine, in fact, was the best it has ever been. However, it still wouldn’t have paid for one of those employees to keep their job. If my co-workers and I could have sacrificed our bonuses in order to keep one of our fellow employees on staff, we would have done so, but the numbers just don’t add up that way.

    The most compelling criticism I’ve heard here is that BJU should be either a ministry or a business, not both, and not able to pick and choose how it’s going to behave based on what will be most advantageous for it. There’s some truth to that. However, this is not unique to BJU, or to IFB’s, or even to just “religious” institutions. There are a lot of non-profits out there that will ask you as an employee to make numerous sacrifices for it, but will have no problem cutting you off if circumstances call for it. All I can say is, be aware of what you are risking if you decide to work for any of those places, and keep your options open.

    I have family members who are long time staff members. They have never worked anywhere but on campus at BJU, ever. It is literally their whole life. One of them is semi-retired and I believe the other one is safe, which is good, because I can’t imagine what they would do without the school to take care of them. And that’s pretty sad.

    1. BJU deserves some credit for posting this faculty meeting publicly.

      They didn’t. And whoever recorded it would probably be in a ton of trouble if they figured out who it was.

      1. Oh . . . . my bad. From the way it was worded I thought the university had actually posted it, which would be extraordinary. I hereby retract my first paragraph.

    2. As far as the bonuses go: as I understand it, the people who were recently let go had already been eliminated by this meeting, so presumably they were not there to have their noses rubbed in their colleagues bonuses.

      Whether they were there or not their noses were rubbed in it by the mere fact others got a bonus. The damage is the same.

      1. Well, at least they didn’t have to sit there and watch their colleagues get it while they sat there with pink slips in their hands. That would really be awful. I never really understood the thinking that those of us left at my job could get bonuses even as they fire others, but it happened all the same. To be fair, my fired co-workers also got healthy severance packages and employment counseling, and I doubt that would be the case here.

        1. Many of the F/S who were recently fired were either near or past retirement age. One man has spent 50 years the University and was going to retire this year, but was asked to stay. Then fired last week! How DARE they! 👿 This same man had the Vintage dedicated to him in 2010. A very sweet, loyal, godly man. I had him as a prof a long time ago. Loved the man!

          Not to mention BJU also fired the director of their newest “film” Milltown Pride.

          I would dare to speculate no one is safe at BJU, especially, if you work for the U and are either nearing retirement age, or past it. “The Promise” is not being done in actuality at the f/s were told all their lives it would be. Sad. Breaks my heart. The Jones’ fly around in a private jet, live in luxury, the president of the University was not in town, but at his lakeside property in Tryon!

        2. “Well, at least they didn’t have to sit there and watch their colleagues get it while they sat there with pink slips in their hands.”

          Actually, many of them did. Several of the people who are being cut had not heard about it until this meeting.

        3. Grace2live, the reason businesses give out bonuses during layoffs is to encourage those who were retained to remain at their jobs. Nothing ruins morale like a round of layoffs, and the people who choose to leave afterward are likely to be the ones you wanted to keep; they have marketable skills and initiative. Last time I was laid off, I had been promised a “retention bonus” – in essence, a carrot to keep me working until when and if I got laid off. Turned out to be “when” – that company no longer exists.
          Also, some bonus structures are contractual – for example, a typical investment bank must pay performance and profit bonuses to the senior staff; it’s a routine part of employing savvy financial professionals.
          None of this is meant to justify BJU here; I can’t currently listen to the staff meeting, have never been a part of the BJU community, and I’m not even a Fundamentalist.

    3. @grace2live, you have a point when you say, “There are a lot of non-profits out there that will ask you as an employee to make numerous sacrifices for it, but will have no problem cutting you off if circumstances call for it. All I can say is, be aware of what you are risking if you decide to work for any of those places, and keep your options open.” Part of the issue at BJU though is that if someone “tried to keep their options open”, often they would be considered disloyal. In addition, there are not a lot of options for someone with an unaccredited degree as well for someone in the very narrow fundy world. Fundies separate from everyone, so a lot of potential work opportunities would never even be considered simply over issues like association or music. Most nonprofits should you be fired from them wouldn’t blacklist you for going to a different place, but I have a friend who received a letter from BJU rescinding their alumni dues and pretty much repudiating them because they joined a Baptist church that’s in a more liberal association. The field is very limited if you limit yourself only to places of which BJU approves.

      I think a lot of grads are concerned for folks like your family members, those who “are long time staff members. They have never worked anywhere but on campus at BJU, ever. It is literally their whole life. . . I can’t imagine what they would do without the school to take care of them.” It is those type of people that the grads are wanting to make sure are taken care of. It just wouldn’t be right for the university to foster, encourage, even demand dependence on BJU, but then just leave them to their own ingenuity when they’re fired. Should all people “cover their rear” and be prepared? Yes. But did BJU encourage people to do so? Absolutely not. People trusted and invested completely in the university, in what is perhaps a childish or foolish way, but if they did, they need to be helped through this transition.

      (BTW, I have no idea if any people are in this situation. It’s been many years since I graduated, and I don’t know who is affected by this or what situation they’re in.)

  19. Furthermore, if a public company did something like this, they would be torn to shreds. If they had taken a stand on the Bible back in the 70s and 80s, obeyed what Scripture says about how all people are the same in God’s eyes, and not acted like a bunch of arrogant plantation-owing Southerners, maybe they’d still have these programs. Of course, if they obeyed the Bible, a lot of things would be different.

  20. “As far as the bonuses go: as I understand it, the people who were recently let go had already been eliminated by this meeting, so presumably they were not there to have their noses rubbed in their colleagues bonuses.”

    Hold on just a second. If you read any of the posts above you would have known that there were meetings AFTER this meeting giving more specific details to those who had just been informed of that they were losing their jobs. As a poster said in an earlier comment, some people found out they were losing their jobs AFTER the meeting you that we have audio of.

    Some people lost their jobs immediately (people in non-education roles with more happening as we speak… many older staff members in their 60s) and some were informed that they would be let-go at the end of the semester (I believe speech faculty etc. were among this group). So from what I understand, there were some people in that meeting who had just found out their jobs were going to be dissolved.

    Also, as I mentioned before, BJU has every right to adjust their number of majors by taking out some and adding some etc. and even letting people go. It is their right to give bonuses if they choose, this can often improve morale and show a dedication to that faculty person and his/her work… but it is in absolutely BAD taste to hand these out to people in front of those who have been informed their jobs will be dissolved. Over the course of my life I have received promotions at several different employers but NEVER once did I receive one while my colleagues stood by and watched. Not even christmas bonuses. It was always behind closed doors so it didn’t look bad.

    Like you said, BJU sets themselves up sometimes like a ministry and a sometimes like a business. The problem is that they get to choose which one they want to be whenever it suits them. As people say, “You can always trace it back to the money.”. They have discontinued several missions-type majors in this cut-back. If they were truly a ministry instead of a business, they would find a way to keep this avenue for training missionaries/pastors open despite the fact that it might not be a money-maker. They could easily do this if they wanted. However, they are going to kill these and START several new majors… unrelated to ministry. The big one was in the sports field. All I used to hear while attending BJU was how they didn’t want to make athletics a priority over the bible focus of the school. And Pastoral majors and missions majors were ALWAYS pushed to be the “leaders” on campus and the “big men on campus” mentality. It’s funny how strong the money can talk when things get tight 😉

    1. “I have received promotions at several different employers but NEVER once did I receive one while my colleagues stood by and watched. Not even christmas bonuses. It was always behind closed doors so it didn’t look bad.”

      Yes, I have worked both as a staff employee and as a manager, NEVER have I ever been given a bonus, nor have I EVER given out bonus’ in front of other employees. There are several reasons for not doing so, but the biggest one is: It sets the workplace up for animosity and infighting among employees. People think, “Why did so and so get that bonus, meanwhile I work just as hard and don’t get recognized? (Or in this case, fired.) He/she is just brown nosing!”

      Also have had the unfortunate responsibility for having to fire and lay off people before, the way this was handled, was horrible. If I did this, I would be in the unemployment line along with those whom I had just fired!

      1. “People think, ‘Why did so and so get that bonus, meanwhile I work just as hard and don’t get recognized? (Or in this case, fired.) He/she is just brown nosing!'”

        Exactly! But the problem is that the powers-that-be at BJU WANT the brown nosing. The very fact that the school gives out public bonuses in this way indicates they want to show who among them others should emulate in action and thought – similar to giving out prizes to the best behaved student in a Sunday School class. Conform and be rewarded.

        Unfortunately, rather than being outraged, the poor people at BJU are manipulated into believing that if they criticize something like this they are “less spiritual” or “self-seeking.” After all, it was clearly stated bonuses were given to those who’s “ministries” at the school are good examples and who “disciple” students in the right way. So rather than question or criticize (let alone feel any animosity toward anyone) the rest of the faculty claps. This suggests a deep-rooted system of manipulation to me.

  21. General question for anybody: several people have mentioned that this message was full of inaccuracies, or lies, or whatever. Can somebody please elaborate? Which statements, exactly? Not that I’m doubting. I was listening to BJIII when he announced that the interracial dating ban had never been a big deal at the school, in blatant disregard that it was an automatic expulsion offense and had cost the university its tax exemption. That all sounds like a big deal to me. I’m just wondering what exactly you think was stated that was inaccurate or a blatant lie.

    1. grace2live,

      If you spent even one year as a student or staff member at BJU all you have to do is listen to the audio and shake your head.

      The way they color everything they do is should be obvious.

      He went through 10-12 minutes of doing nothing but praising the University. He mentioned how what “we” are doing at the University is a “ministry” and that the faculty who work there are in this ministry. I myself heard this MANY times as a student. Teachers saying how they could make far more money at another school, but instead they sacrifice to help in this “ministry”.

      Immediately after he reminded everyone that BJU is a ministry, he says that they have come upon some tough financial realities that will affect the work that is done at the school. *taking a moment to get all teary* He blames this on the economy etc. He then says that they been reevaluating the majors and programs offered at BJU (some of these are ministry related majors like “camp ministry” and “missionary aviation” etc.) He then in not so many words says that these majors are not profitable financially for the school (even though they are ministry majors which is exactly what the school is supposed to be about) and that they will be discontinued in 3-4 years.

      He then goes on to state that they will be STARTING new majors. Now, ask yourself this question: Why would a college that is hurting financially start new majors while getting rid of others? Answer: because they have done studies and found out that certain majors attract students (aka money/ cash flow). That is why they will be putting major money into their sports programs because that’s where the money is.

      He then brings up the fact *amid tears* that these poor christian school kids can’t keep up with the school work demanded of them at BJU and so they leave. He says this is perhaps because these “poor christian kids” go to inferior schools where they don’t have access to the best schooling. I laughed very hard at this because he basically said that the public school system is better than the product offered at the very schools BJU targets for potential students 😛

      He then mentioned that BJU’s associates degree programs were tough and he guessed that they were as hard as many bachelors degree requirements elsewhere. So they would be fixing that by making it easier. Why? Because they need MONEY. They can’t afford to have kids leave. While I was at Bob Jones the academics in ALL programs were prided because they were tough. They said that they NEEDED to be tough because they were interested in turning out the BEST christians possible, and that the academics would only make you a vessel fit for God’s use. This is the closest I heard to an outright lie in his talk. His excuse for them “dumbing down” certain programs was because the kids just weren’t cutting it… because the poor christian schools can’t always supply them with what they need. Now this may be true (in fact, is usually is true) but their motives are NOT to reach out and “touch” these struggling bretheren…. no, they need these kids’ money in order to operate.

      Keep in mind that this is a school with LOW academic entrance qualifications. They will let nearly anyone in there. The place should be flooded with students. I don’t want to hear about them being the “Ivy League” of christian schools. They aren’t even close. They let anyone in there and still struggle financially. It’s all about money, not ministry. You better believe they could keep some of those ministry majors if they wanted while opening a new major to attract students (like the athletic majors), but they won’t because they need money… doesn’t matter if there are less people on the missions field because of it, less people in the pulpit, less people in camp ministry. No, they want to put that money into the athletic department now 😉 How quickly things change!

      1. By the way… I couldn’t agree more about your comment on interracial dating. I remember it being passed off as “not a big deal” too.

      2. He then brings up the fact *amid tears* that these poor christian school kids can’t keep up with the school work demanded of them at BJU and so they leave. He says this is perhaps because these “poor christian kids” go to inferior schools where they don’t have access to the best schooling. I laughed very hard at this because he basically said that the public school system is better than the product offered at the very schools BJU targets for potential students

        True, so True! I have a friend who was accepted at BJU, but found she couldn’t afford to keep attending so when she left she tried to get into the state system. The University system rejected her outright because none, zip, ziltch, nada of her credits from BoJo would transfer. So she tried the Community college system. The same result with the BoJo credits but to add insult to injury they told her that her “Christian School” credits were deficient in math and science.
        (now there’s a shocker inferior and deficient academic from “Christian” schooling?? Who’da thunk it?!) But BoJo accepted her “Christian School Credits” with open arms and then charged her $$$$thousands for two years that were worth…N-o-t-h-i-n-g. Yeah, BoJo is the academic equivalent of Romper Room. (my apologies to Romper Room)

    2. We started to count last night, and we got too many tallies to keep up.

      To start with, they are in no way “one of the largest private college — secular or religious.” I have no idea what he’s talking about there. You google the largest ones, and they are not even close.

      He says the enrollment now is the same as it was “30 years ago.” Stephen said this two weeks ago too, and I had wondered if it was just a mistake. But since Gary repeats it here, I’m thinking this is the story they are going with. 30 years ago? Are you kidding? You all remember the dorms in 1981? There were five to a room **often**. Now they have some dorms rooms with one person in them.

      I do know that they have always fudged the enrollment numbers — especially before TRACS even. They would count as “enrolled” anybody from the day care to the faculty member taking her one free class. Bizarre!

      And then he says that they went through this exact same thing in 90s and they survived that. I’m here to say, “They did?” I was an employee in the 90s. I asked two other employees. There was never word ONE about that back then. It was not this kind of crisis. AT ALL.

      He also says that they have “a lot more programs” now. ::scratching head:: What’s the number we always heard from BJU — They have 100 majors. WOOHOO! Well, I counted. They have a 101.

      Then I lost consciousness after that.

      1. Camille,
        that first lie is so huge its hard to read through the others. Anyone even slightly clued in (ie, of “The World”) would have chortled and/or walked out. Rutgers University is the largest University on the east coast, for those keep score 🙂

        1. Rutgers is a (New Jersey) state university, so it wouldn’t be a “private college.”
          But let’s compare BJU to other private colleges:
          According to BJU’s own figures, it has 4141 students enrolled.
          Let’s look at how this compares with some other private colleges, “secular or religious” (fairly randomly selected, as they were the first ones to pop into my head):
          Baylor University (Southern Baptist): 14,769
          University of Notre Dame (Catholic): 11,743
          Loyola University (Chicago) (Catholic): >15,951
          Texas Christian University (Disciples of Christ): about 8,200
          Southern Methodist University (United Methodist): about 10,500
          Stanford University (secular): 15,319
          Columbia University (secular): 26,399
          Harvard (secular): 21,125
          This barely scratches the surface, of course, but it’s enough to show that there is no bloody way that Bob Jones U is one of the largest private colleges in the U.S. About all you could truthfully say on that topic is that it’s not one of the smallest.

        2. The “over 60,000” number for Liberty includes “50,000+ online.” It’s not explained exactly who they are counting there. By Liberty U’s own count, about 13,400 students actually attend classes there, which sounds more believable. That’s still vastly larger than Bob Jones U, of course.

        3. Correct…Liberty is 13k+ on-campus. I think I mentioned earlier, they have capped enrollment the last few years to make sure facilities and scholastics maintain pace of the recent growth of the college. They also recently announced a $200 million project for new facilities and upgrades to current facilities. They have never been in better financial shape and enrollment is higher than it as ever been.

        4. I first realized that they were fudging the enrollment numbers when I worked student check-in for a couple years. I had always heard numbers like 4500-5000 (at that time). But I was working at the computer that tallied the actual number of students as they checked in, and on the final night (all students that will be accepted are now in the system), the number wasn’t anywhere near that high. If I remember correctly, it was more like 3500-4000.

        5. I remember the BJU recruiter telling us in a college fair session in early 2001 that their enrollment was 5700 and something… so that was incorrect?

  22. Rabbit trail: I’ve seen it mentioned that Stephen has a home in the mountains (Tryon)? How long has he had this? Not too long ago, he expressed at least one time in chapel a desire for a home in the mountains that he and his family could get away to, because they are always stuck on campus. Did he already have one??

    1. You can look at the Polk County, NC public records to find this out. It’s all open.

      It looks like the current house was purchased in 2009 (497 Meadow Lark Lane, Tryon). And they own two lots not adjacent to the house (if I’m reading it correctly) that were purchased in 2004.

      He assumed the presidency in 2005.

  23. I know the Jones family owns property all over. ::Thinking:: I thought the Jones’ owned property up at Tryon for a long time. Maybe it was family property and now Steven wants his own pad?

    At least if Steven had to finance it, he could get a nice deal on a loan through the back his daddy and Bob Wood founded!

  24. This discussion about downsizing is taking place across the country in public state universities and private liberal arts universities. It’s part of the reality of two things: the economy and the very real decline in college-age population that is starting to occur.

    I’m not defending BJU by any stretch, but the challenges that it faces aren’t unique, nor are the answers. The framing of the challenges and solutions are a different story.

    1. Just researched this last week. All other colleges, except one all womens college, has had a big spike in enrollment. The womans college only had a drop of 12 students. BJU’s dropped many more students.

      In my state, college enrollment is at a all time high.

      You know why, because of the economy! People return to school in a down economy to get training and kids who otherwise wouldn’t go to college do so because they can’t get work.

      His stated reason, that BJU enrollment is down because of the economy is a leaking bucket. It is not the economy, it is other factors such as lack of regional accreditation, draconian rules, etc, etc, etc.

      1. Down-economy spikes in enrollment often have a lot to do with people returning to school. BJU is not the kind of place you _return_ to school to. Nor is it where you go to save money. It’s just not the kind of school that is going to benefit from a down economy the way other schools would. Those are going to be community colleges, state schools, and places with programs more friendly to returning students.

      2. I once had lunch with the former head of my company’s human resources department. She is black. She told me if she even saw a resume from a BJU grad, she just threw it in the trash. Another reason to aviod BJU.

        1. wow! so job qualifications aren’t even considered in the hiring process. what unbiased justification could be given for that? since you mentioned the pigment of her skin, i assume that she knows about bju’s bigoted policies of the past and those are informing her current no tolerance policies. i find it interesting that a person would protest bigotry by practicing it. seems like a rather confused protest to me.

        2. theotherguy is right. It stinks to be caught by bigotry on both sides. Not justifiable from either party, but most stinky for the person caught in the middle who just wants a fair hearing at a job opportunity.

    2. Downsizing is not happening at most schools and universities. That sounds a lot of bojo propaganda. There are a few small, liberal arts schools, who, for different reasons, are having some trouble, but most enrollments are up across the country.

      1. Sorry, Dan, not a BJU plant.

        My liberal arts university has downsized its majors and faculty to meet the shifting projections. I had three students last semester drop out b/c of finances; two of my advisees were able to stay in school only by the grace of God. Another university (business-oriented) I taught at is only growing b/c it has committed to online programs that keep the programs for the 1,800 “traditional” students afloat. Another large state university that I taught at has gone paperless except for essential activities (mostly by administrators) and phoneless in some departments.

        We do have more adults coming back to get an education since the economic downturn, but based on past patterns, those students tend to disappear if they can get back into the workforce.

        My data are anecdotal, but we faculty were warned about the tightening even before the economic recession. I hope I’m wrong, and you’re right.

    1. Isn’t flying First Class still a lot cheaper than flying your own private jet?
      Not that I’m in a position to know these things– that’s one decision I’m pretty sure I’ll never have to make.

        1. Although BJU does own a few Cesna’s, I assure you, the Jones’ do not fly around the county in a lowly Cesna.

          Ask my fundy pastor foster dad that I embarrassed to tears as a wide eyed 12 year old! I had never seen a private jet up close. How cool! Bob Jones III get’s off his private jet, walks to the waiting air conditioned car, on a nice sunny day, get’s in and remarks to my foster father, about “suffering for the LORD” in Pennsylvania.

          From the back seat, I piped up still awed that I wanted to suffer for the LORD like that when I grew up! :mrgreen:

          My dreams of flying in my own private jet crashed and burned when I was told, “Girls can’t be preachers!”

        2. But, Darrell, how is he supposed to be able to fly out for an emergency pastors conference? An emergency FBF meeting? A quick trip to the ski slopes in Colorado?

    2. Ok, so here’s another side of this. When I was an MK, a missionary on a neighboring island ran a radio station. One day he fell off a tower he was working on and broke his back in several places.

      BJU sent their jet and medical personnel to get him back to the states for surgery. He would otherwise likely have died.

      So their jets aren’t _just_ used for the convenience of their leaders. Not discounting that part of it but they have had some other uses along the way.

      1. Oooh, I remember that! But, you have to take into account that that particular missionary was a GFA missionary who was the son-in-law of a pair of BJU faculty/staff members.

      2. I wonder if he let his hair grow half over his ears if they would have sent the jet out for the rescue?

    3. Of course, flying on a private jet beats having an image of your privates oogled or your privates felt actually up by the TSA.

      Something tells me with the demise of the aviation degree program, they’ll be getting rid of most of their fleet. Which from a cost perspective is certainly the way to go – besides operational costs, I can only imagine the cost of liability insurance they’ve had to carry, particularly for the students.

  25. Except for the ham-handed way this was done and but for for people who will lose jobs, I think most of us here can find some good in the enrollment has been declining at BJ. I for one hope it continues.

    1. Me too, It’s good to see that so many alumni (like myself) would never let our children go to this place. I think it has much to do with us finding out what true Christianity is as we shed the shackles of funyism.

  26. grace2live,

    Gary Weir is the one who said it was one of the largest. Not average. Largest. We did not put words in his mouth. Just putting the facts out there.

    1. OK, I’ll even concede that BJU is a larger-than-average private college.
      (National average enrollment for a private college = 1,920
      BJU’s claimed enrollment = 4,141)
      But “one of the largest”? No way.
      I’m taller than the average man (I’m about 6’3″).
      But if I claimed to be one of the tallest people in America, I’d get laughed out of town. Even a minor-league basketball team has nobody as short as me on the bench.

  27. This was my list of interesting things I found from the whole talk.

    Oh and BJU is by far NOT one of the largest private schools. My list includes
    USC, BU, BC, NYU, Northwestern, Northeastern, University of Chicago
    And all of those have student populations at least 1 if not 2 orders of magnitude higher then BJU.

    1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_university_campuses_by_enrollment

      Ten Largest Private University Campuses as of Fall 2010
      1. Liberty University: 46,312
      2. New York University: 43,404
      3. University of Southern California: 34,828
      4. Brigham Young University: 34,130
      5. Boston University: 31,960
      6. Nova Southeastern University: 29,154
      7. DePaul University: 25,072
      8. George Washington University: 25,061
      9. Long Island University: 24,258
      10. Columbia University: 24,230

      6427. Bob Jones University: 3,288

      (Joking with the ordinal, of course)


      1. Liberty has 46,312!? That seems really high, even if you take into account their online program. When I was there in the late 80’s it was like 4,000 or something. But that was before the Internet.

        1. As I hinted above, I don’t think the figure of over 46,000, or the 60,000 that is also claimed for Liberty, would survive an audit. The 60,000 number apparently includes over 50,000 “online students.” But it’s not clear where they get that number. Maybe 50,000 people have visited Liberty’s web site?

        2. I was a bit shocked by that myself, But then I don’t know much about Liberty…don’t really care to. A slightly more liberal or sanitized Christian school that forces it’s students into particular molds is a no go in my book. You can dress up a turd, but in the end it still smells.

          Those numbers came from US News rankings. All of that is completely self reported so the numbers could be largely fictional…though they have every reason to be as “accurate” as possible (by that I mean the number should generally map to real people in some way) given the possible backlash if proven false.

        3. Just what the numbers mean is unclear.

          Are they full-time or part-time students?

          Do 2 part-time students equal 1 full-time student?

          What constitutes a full-time student?

          Many years ago the university I attended was trying to figure such a number out. They were coping with yet another round of budget cuts and wanted to bolster their case.

          The University Secretary who was in charge of the exercise found the process very difficult.

          Not every program has the same definition of a full-time student.

          Taking the total number of credit hours and dividing it by the number of bodies registered was considered too crude of a measure.

          How were they to handle students auditing classes?

          What about certificate and off campus programs? What about required portions of courses for which you received no credit hours?

          The other university in the province was doing the same thing, and this complicated the problem because it had its own practices and programs that differed from those at my school.

          In the end they came up with numbers, but there were a lot of footnotes with each number explaining how they arrived at those numbers.

        4. They do quite a bit of correspondence/online classes, even before online classes they had a huge program for this. I know many college kids at other schools who used their program to fill in blanks in their credit requirements with elective classes that wouldnt fit into their on campus schedule. So with a few thousand taking 1 class that way here and there, the total number could get pretty high.

        5. They are pretty clear in some publications as listing between 13k and 14k ON CAMPUS. (Not sure the criteria for the list posted here). They do have a huge on-line enrollment as they were in on that pretty early. They have been ranked #3 in the country as the best on-line program based on several factors including quality of course work, cost, graduation rate.

        6. Hmm. High graduation rate sometimes = Easy classes, so I’m not sure that should be used as a measure of the quality of the courses.

  28. I would hardly call Stephen’s mountain home & land purchase of $363,000 excessive and worth lambasting over. Yes, I realize that that’s in addition to his primary residence. But still, it’s not a multi-million estate, for cryin’ out louds.

    1. 363K wouldn’t buy you anything in the NE, but in the G’ville area 363K speaks volumes. It is a matter of perspective. Beyond that what BJU faculty or staff member could ever dream of coughing up that much money for a SECOND home much less a first. So yes it is a big deal. Sell the home and use that to keep a couple of faculty members.

      This sort of behavior (buying up homes and living excessively) we’d expect from a secular school or entity, but BJU told us students to live beyond that. To live within our means and to be thankful for what God gives. We are to lead by example…that is why we lived with all those stupid rules. And now we find out that the administration didn’t believe any of that?

      1. I second the notion that for $363,000 in, say, the Bay Area of California, or Manhattan, you wouldn’t get much, but in much of the rural U.S. this would buy a rather fancy estate.

        1. 363K will buy you a studio condo if you are lucky. A starter home outside of the city (i.e. broken up piece of junk that you’ll have to fix). But in G’ville that price would land you a pretty sweet piece of land. But beyond that we aren’t talking about a single home. We’re talking about a second home. All bets are off at that point. How many people in the US are barely lucky enough to achieve the “American Dream” once let alone have so much disposable income to have it twice. Excessive? Absolutely.

        2. Again, not to defend Stephen, but Greenville prices are necessarily as low as you might think. And many more people than you think have second homes (either owned outright or co-owned with the bank).

          Also, despite the low-ness of what they’re paid (and I know not exact figures), most BJU faculty and staff don’t live in cardboard boxes under the overpass. Many consult and have other side occupations…as do lots and lots of non-BJU-affiliated people.

  29. After listening to the first few minutes of gobblebygook about how great BJU was, I felt like I was being hypnotized. When I stopped listening, my heart was beating very quickly.

    I think that I am starting to understand the twitch, twitch jokes. 😯

    1. A good response on his part. Can anybody confirm with those who have been recently let go that they WILL still have the benefits they were promised? If so, it makes me feel better.

  30. I know one of the people who got the bonuses, and I have had the oddest encounter with his wife over the whole thing. I have been out of fundy circles for a while, and I could use some help in knowing if this was a personal slight or just the way fundies handle things.

    So, I actually found your website when a colleague who is studying colleague sent it to me a link to your audio version of the BJU faculty meeting, asking for clarification of some of the cultural idioms used. He is studying how non-public institutions are restructuring, and the dilemma faced by institutions like BJU is particularly interesting to him.

    Well, as I am listening to the part of the recording where they announce bonuses, I hear them call the name of a guy I went to a small fundie high school with (our graduating class was 10 people). I started to worry that maybe this really was a cushioning for an upcoming blow, and I am friends with his wife, also a member of that graduating class, on Facebook. So, I sent her a very nice message saying that I had heard there was going to be some people let go at BJU and expressing my hope that her family would be okay.

    Well, she sent back this pretty rude note telling me that there was a lot of misinformation out on the internet and giving me this explanation of what was really happening. It was pretty rudely worded.

    So I sent her back a note apologizing for any offense, and telling her that I didn’t know of any internet rumors (at that point, I had not read the comments here.) I told her that I had heard the audio file, why I was listening, and that I had heard her husband’s name. I told her that my first reaction had been “Hey, I know him!” followed by genuine happiness for his success. But then I had begun worrying that the bonuses might be a way of easing the upcoming lay-offs. (Since then, I discovered in reading the comments here that I was not the only one who thought that.) I told her that I was hoping that they were okay and wishing them the best. I said I knew how hard it could be to need to change jobs etc, and I was thinking about them and wishing them the best. It was expressed my very real concern and a kind hope that all would be well for them.

    In the non-fundy world where I have been now for quite a while, the response that I got back was hostile and defensive. At no point did she thank me for my concern or even recognize that I had been expressing concern and not attacking her.

    She emphasized repeatedly that God would take care of them just fine, thank you. But then she spent several sentances telling me how superbly qualified her husband was and how much students loved him and how he could get a job anywhere.

    Is this just how fundies handle expressions of concern, or was this personal?

    1. This sounds to me as though the lady is scared that her husband will be let go, and the fact that you expressed concern and well-wishes heightened that fear for her. I don’t think it was personal, as in aimed particularly at you. It was a reaction of, “If nobody mentions that there might be a problem, then there won’t be one. LALALALALALALALA, I can’t hear you!!!”
      But good for you for reaching out. In spite of her reaction, you did a kind and Godly service for her.

    2. Somewhere there is a post on “if you criticize my church it is gossip. if I criticize yours it helping”. I couldn’t find it in a short search but it is a natural fundie defense, it’s built in so don’t take it personal.

      Bonnet Ripper = The Amish Wedgie

        1. @Scorpio Thanks, that’s it. Although this may seem like it may not apply I think a natural defense kicks in at anyone who seems to be remotely critical. Its Fundie evolution.

          Bonnet Ripper = The Amish Wedgie

    3. I know Pensacola would just repeat over & over how bad internet communication was anytime there were things being said online or via the Student V e-mail scandal. It’s a pretty obvious ploy, but when you’re told that over & over again by your employer, etc, it makes you defensive like that.

  31. Fundies, and in my experience, especially those from BJ, on one hand have a bit of an inferiority complex to start with. For many years BJ made it a badge of honor they were not accredited. As such they have had to try to prove to everyone they are just as good as those schools that are. On the other hand, BJ is well known for an arrogance inside of fundyland as they have long considered it their birthright to man the ramparts of fundamentalism deciding who is qualified to get in the gates and who must stay out….often equating to salvation itself in their minds.

  32. So, what I hear you all saying, and correct me if I am wrong, is that by showing concern I was actually insulting her? If that is what you are all saying, is there a way of making peace?

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