After being hired, fired, re-hired, and then delayed, GRACE has finally released its final report on sexual abuse at Bob Jones University(PDF).
I haven’t yet read all 301 pages so please feel free to share your findings and observations in the comments.
393 thoughts on “GRACE Releases the BJU Report”
It’s 50000 pages, ain’t nobody read the report.
wait, which report are we talking about?
i’ll work through the 300 page executive summary tho
“The prophet Jeremiah warned that altars used to kill children had provoked the anger of the Lord and that such cruelties were particularly offensive because they were cloaked in religious observance. In describing Amnon’s sexual abuse of his sister, scripture notes the significant deception and planning of the offender, the brute force of the rapist, and the devastating emotional impact on the victim. Countless psalms echo the lament of the suffering who “looked for pity, but there was none, and for comforters, but I found none.”
“Of the 342 completed surveys, 127 indicated that they did not wish to communicate with GRACE further, and 215 said they wished to communicate with GRACE again.”
“GRACE extended in-person interview requests to approximately 73 survey participants. Fifty-four accepted GRACE’s request for an interview. Approximately 50 participants self-identified as victims of abuse, 43 of whom met with GRACE in person. GRACE also received a total of 22 written statements.”
“The investigation found two primary types of sexual abuse disclosures made to the university. The first were disclosures made by students having been sexually victimized as a child. The second were disclosures made by students having been sexually victimized while a BJU student. Though the abuse disclosed in each case was abhorrent and unlawful, the scope of
this investigation was to focus upon the university’s response to
“Of abuse victims, 30.5 percent perceived BJU’s response to their abuse disclosure to be “Very Supportive” or “Somewhat Supportive” while 52.7 percent considered BJU’s response
as “Very Hurtful” or “Somewhat Hurtful.”
Finally, the survey takers were asked to characterize the general attitude toward victims of sexual abuse communicated by administrators, faculty members, and others representing BJU (See Table 9). Twenty-seven and a half percent of the Investigative Sample respondents and 20.6 percent of the Abuse Survivor Subgroup described the university’s general attitude to be “Loving
and Compassionate.” This contrasted with the 55.9 percent of the Investigative Sampleand 61.7 percent of
Abuse Survivor Subgroup who characterized the attitudes
of BJU representative towards victims of sexual abuse to be “Blaming and Disparaging.”
Also from page 29:
“Approximately 7.6 percent of abuse victims described BJU personnel as encouraging a police report, while 25.8
percent reported that BJU directed them not to make a
police report. Another 21.2 percent said BJU discouraged them from reporting their abuse to the police. Thus, nearly 47.0 percent or 31 survey takers described BJU personnel as either directing them not to make a police report or discouraging them from doing so.
3. The survey findings support a possible conclusion that
BJU representatives may have sometimes discouraged the reporting of sexual crimes to the proper authorities. Specifically, 47percent of survey takers who self-identified as abuse victims stated that BJU personnel either directed them not to make a police report or discouraged them from doing so.
These survey comments relate to the issue of abuse victims being discouraged from making police reports:
Victims heard, consistently, from chapel speakers and faculty/staff, that abusers should be forgiven, that they bore the sin of bitterness, and that they should not report abusers. [D]eal with your own “sin;” keep knowledge within the church. Its [sic] best not to make a big deal out of this for the good of the school.
A person in administration who knew that I was assaulted by one of their preacher boys stated that I would destroy this godly man’s education and future if I reported his crime.
I received a slip in my P. O. [Box] to report to the stage following a specific chapel service. At that time, Drs. Bob,
Jr. and III told me that they were sorry such a thing happened but that I now had the choice to honor God by my response and not be selfish in sharing the experience with others and gaining inappropriate attention for
Commented on the page 33 – the lady who was assaulted by one of the preacher boys, and then counseled to not report it, as it would destroy his education and future.
How can they say that? He may have gone on to assault others as a pastor or youth worker, and perhaps speaking up would cause it to be stopped NOW and save others from such pain?
If 342 people returned survey answers, why did Grace only try to interview 73 of them in person?
That’s not necessarily improper, but it makes me wonder.
One reason is some victims did not want to take the next step and do the personal interview. The report explains it all. For brevity I am just taking relevant quotes.
Also, survey may have indicated no abuse occurred and no need to interview. Survey was likely intended to identify what cases needed to be interviewed as well as what people were willing to be interviewed
Same size and personnel and time of project. No conspiracy there or anything.
Some of the survey participants did not identify as victims of abuse or of having knowledge of abuse at BJU. BJU supporters were answering the survey as well as victims. So not all of them had information that was pertinent to the investigation. Some of those contacted did not wish to be interviewed; I have heard that there was a lot of pressure on victims to not give an interview, and several said that they did not trust an organisation that was hired by BJU to be fair. And I know that one professor lost his job just after his daughter wrote to Stephen Jones telling him that she’d reported to GRACE, so it’s clear that the pressure on victims to not report wasn’t just a bluff.
Sad, but unfortunately not surprising.
I think you should have titled the post Fall(out) from Grace.
I’ll believe change will happen when I see it. Then again, I never thought this report would see the light of day, so perhaps there is hope.
Shocker the report concluded that BJU did not have adequately trained counselors to deal with sexual abuse. How does the Ivy league school of Christian schools not have adequately trained counselors?
I hope it brings change and humility to the school and associated churches.
They thought they didn’t need “secular” counselors. They needed the old Jay Adams “Nouthetic” counselors.
“Nouthetic” or “Biblical” counselors are a terrible thing. I have personally witnessed the fallout from this self-serving nonsense dressed up as “help”.
I think that BJU is seeing the fallout of nouthetic counseling now.
I don’t really have the energy or “care” left to read this report. But yeah… nukethetic counseling destroys lives.
Christ, is that a word? Like nous + Dianetics?
“Nouthetic” counseling has the counselor listen to the counselee, figure out a bible verse to apply to their situation and “places it on their mind”.
In other words, it uses the bible to hammer the already-wounded, and makes them feel shittier than before because now they realize they suck as a christian too.
Sounds like first-class quackery.
Humph. My trained, PhD level (from a real, recognized university) counselor uses Bible passages in my counseling sessions. But never as a hammer, and never in a way that assigns blame to me for harm I suffered at the hands of others. Hey, BJU, it’s possible to be a Christian counselor without harming your victims, er, patients.
Sound psychological counseling/psychotherapy is of S-A-T-A-N (I wish blog sites had re-verb). Psychotherapy is a present that Santa (Satan’s twin cousin-in-law) gives to children who were naughty and already at the gates of hell. Sad, but I’ve known too many Christians, IFB or not, who share this opinion.
Meanwhile, Jesus seemed to think that child abuse was of S-A-T-A-N. (Matt. 18:6 and all that.)
It is recommended that BJU remove any and all materials that have demonstrated to be insensitive and hurtful to sexual abuse victims20 from its online/on campus bookstore and from any other BJU controlled entity. This includes, but is not limited to the following:
• Any and all counseling related materials, books, teachings, or curriculum associated with Bob Wood, Walter Fremont, and Jim Berg.
What a shocking conclusion! Said no one ever.
Not shocking, but it’s darned good advice.
“Any and all”–well. That’s a pretty blunt statement. Not too many ways to twist and misinterpret a statement like that!
(of course I’m sure people will anyway, or declare the whole report is null and void to begin with, but still.)
They were saying that before it came out–at least the nabobs at Sharper Iron were. A few of them still are.
Wow. I knew them all. I heard them all preach. Gradually I came to understand their errors, but after I had left the University.
I remember in particular a course I took under Walter Freemont. I remember he had particularly severe words about how people attract others with the same kinds of bad attitudes or wicked spirits as they have. And being in that company, he said, made people easy prey. So while you may have been victimized, you may have put yourself into that situation and are ultimately at fault. What we sow, we reap. Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.
At the time it sounded good. I agreed with it. And perhaps it is true sometimes? But that doesn’t mean we should blame the victim and exonerate the victimizer, as if they were just God’s agent of judgment. People who have done nothing wrong are victimized, too.
I have lived and learned that!
Part of the problem with fundamentalist thought is that every bad thing that happens to you is supposed to be a result of your own sin. But bad things happen because of the sins of others as well, and we do not own their sins. Nor should we be made to think that we do.
A two year old boy was raped recently in our area. Please, Mr. Fremont, tell me what filthy sin he must have been involved in to allow that to happen.
Well, you know they teach that infants are sinners, too. Psalm 58:3. “The wicked are estranged from the womb;
they go astray from birth, speaking lies.” Fremont used to say that a baby who cried for no apparent reason was lying and should be spanked.
I don’t think he’d go so far as to say the child deserved rape. (Well, especially now, we’re he alive).
You know, I get that maybe we shouldn’t hang out in bad company or do stupid things that may put us at risk. But stupidity is not against the law. Sexual abuse is. As with MOGs who abuse underage girls (or boys), it’s not the victim’s fault.
Great point, rtgmath!! Sometimes bad things just happen and it’s NOT YOUR FAULT.
All my life that has been a tremendous burden on me, to always weigh every single thing I do because, if something bad happens, it was because I must have made a mistake. For example, if I got in a car accident, even if was caused by the other driver, it was still my fault because I’d chosen to drive on that particular road at that particular time. What a guilt-filled, shaming way to live. What a crazy-making way to live, because it basically requires you to know the future. It looks back after an event and labels little decisions with moral significance and faults you for somehow not making the “right” choice (though no one could know which one was “right” until AFTER the fact.)
(BTW, I’ve come across this philosophy in “new age” type spirituality too: that what happens to you happens because you “attract” it. I reject that, whether it’s eastern religious or IFB teaching.)
“… that what happens to you happens because you “attract” it.”
That’s the core theory in “The Secret” (Rhonda Byrne), endorsed and publicized by Oprah Winfrey.
I think that’s mostly malarkey. Yes, our thoughts and actions have consequences, but they don’t control the universe. Many, many forces influence my life, and I can only influence a few of them. Do what I can? Yes. Believe I always get what I want and always want what I get? That’s crazy talk.
Yep. Both aspects (positive and negative) are malarkey. You picked a good word.
The fact is that we get both good and bad that we have not earned. The world is not balanced, and Justice does not rule. The wicked are not punished, especially the most powerful. The righteous are not usually rewarded. The weak are not defended.
And “salvation” seems to do nothing to change people’s character. Fundamentalism is wickedness clothed in the garments of righteousness.
By the way, there’s a hilarious sendup of “The Secret” in “The Bling Ring,” a movie I heartily recommend.
We must be careful to maintain balance. To assert that it is never the victim’s fault is just as much of an error as to say that it is always the victim’s fault.
When my boy was very small, he was teasing the dog and got bit. The lad was the “victim” of a dog bite, but it was his fault.
If I’m up late partying with friends, go into work half-awake and make a serious error on a contract and get fired, I only have the choices I made to blame.
Clearly, there are cases, as in the 2-year-old case, where the victim is entirely innocent.
You are equating natural consequences with being a victim. If you don’t study for a test a natural consequence would be to fail the test. That is not the same as saying a woman wearing a short skirt deserved to be raped. I know my example was extreme, but I wanted to make the point that we should be careful when we compare natural consequences to someone being a victim.
WifeofBill, I definitely agree. There are natural consequences. There is victimization. Even if a girl shows very poor judgment there is no excuse for rape, nor is there any cause to blame her for the rape.
She might need to learn to choose her companions more wisely. She might need to learn better how to keep herself safe. She might need to understand how to avoid bad situations. But she didn’t cause her own rape, nor should she bear guilt as if it were voluntary. (On that subject, even if it had been voluntary, fundy attitudes are wrong!)
And maybe…bad things…just happen…because
My Sunday school class at the IFB church I used to attend used Berg’s “Changed into His Image” as a textbook one year. I’m so glad I burned that sucker.
Dr. Jim Berg isn’t the adequately trained counselor BJU thinks he is.
Does anyone else think about the term “loose cannon” ?
The thing is, I think all of BJ’s cannons are loose, and many of them are pointed in the wrong direction.
Not a Dr.–only honorary.
MollyWollyDoodle, that is definitely a root problem one campus. When I was a freshman there in the ’80s, I didn’t even know what an Honorary doctorate was. Then I found out bob3rd, Jim Berg, and others hadn’t earned their doctorates. But they insisted on being called “Dr.”
Then I began to notice Bob 3rd calling men and women who HAD earned real degrees as “Mr. So-and-so,” or by their first names.
To me, it showed his lack of respect for those who really worked their butts off to earn that title. Now, after the report, I see his lack of respect lead to this debacle.
Their best road ahead would be coming out in the next few months with a true appology and a promise to never counsel on campus again, and a total re-staffing of the highest levels of leadership there. Starting with those named in the report.
Maybe they should change the name of the University for the benefit of the future Allumni.
In many states counselors need to be licensed by the state. Some so-called “Christian” counselors couldn’t pass the exams.
We don’t let unlicensed people do surgery or practice law, yet there are many thousands of people with no formal training who offer “counseling.”
Some of those guys couldn’t pass water, let alone pass exams
So, Paul, they’re fulla s**t?
Liscensing is not required of all counsellors in SC?? I live in NY where they all have to have minimum qualifications and degrees to practice as well as state liscensing. I guess I just assumed that was country wide policy.
I suspect many hide under church affiliation…church “biblical” counselors
Yes, there’s a pretty huge exemption for members of religious organizations. “Pastoral” counselors do not have to be licensed, and that’s sort of what BJU officials considered themselves to be.
I’m reading it now. By GRACE’s statement, the notification process to former students was limited to those either actively following BJU, GRACE, or those in BJU constituencies who might hear through their church. BJU apparently notified all its constituents if they had their email or mailing addresses. Well, I for one was never notified (not that I would have been able to help GRACE). BJU kicked me out of the Alumni Association many years ago.
Other former students and alumni have turned their back on the school and have broken off contact. They wouldn’t likely have been notified. Some of those most wounded by BJU have left fundamentalism, even Christianity.
So maybe it’s nobody’s fault, but the pool of former students or graduates that were even notified was probably pretty limited.
I’m reading it now as well. I’m a former student. I specifically remember a class (Child Psych?) where Dr. Fremont told how he counseled a young lady who was abused by her father that it was her fault because she let it happen more than once (or something like that).
It’s one of the many reasons why I can’t stand to hear fundamentalists expound, and have left the sect.
I’m definitely not on any of their email lists.
That is horrible. I remember in Marriage and Family class at PCC hearing everything from the mildly amusing (“When it comes to sex, men are like microwaves, and women are like conventional ovens”) the downright disturbing. I took notes throughout the class of all the questionable – and even objectionable – content. At the time I didn’t particularly care about victims, but going back through my notes I am astonished that this person was even allowed to be on faculty, let alone open his mouth. Ignorance is rarely a tolerable thing; institutionalized it becomes tyrannical.
“When it comes to sex, men are like microwaves, and women are like conventional ovens”
I… am not familiar with this analogy. What is it even supposed to be saying?
It means: You can get a man turned on immediately but women take a lot of time (and energy?) to warm up.
It might take me a long time to get a woman “warmed up,” but it hardly takes George Clooney or Ryan Gosling any time at all.
Eric, did the GRACE group give you an opportunity to answer a survey or be interviewed?
Gary, no. I might have checked it out had I known earlier about this process. Just to be clear, I was in no way involved in the story. I was in class listening to him tell an example of how he did one counseling session. The class was in the 1980s and Fremont had counseled this girl or lady at an earlier time. I was disturbed as a student, but was too naive to think to question him on it. Questioning can become a dangerous thing, even in classrooms.
I am not through reading the report, but it does seem that this culture gets addressed by GRACE.
Big Gary, I submitted a written statement to GRACE concerning a situation I saw happen at BJU, where an alleged rape was not reported to the police. At the time I did not have the emotional energy to consent to a phone interview, let alone traveling for an in-person interview. But they did give me that option.
“…told how he counseled a young lady who was abused by her father that it was her fault because she let it happen more than once (or something like that)”
That’s just…I can’t even. That’s the most idiotic thing I’ve ever heard.
Idiotic, definitely. Perhaps “criminal” is a better word.
Yeah but this kind of thinking is rampant in fundamentalism . When he learned his grand daughter had been abused from the age of 3 by her uncle, my father asked if she had invited him. Woman, even 3 year old future women are tools of the devil
VictIms are almost always considered to have invited the abuse. Skilled abusers invite children into “play” and cross boundaries with care, giving pleasure as they do it or making promises about something the child wants. The child is thus seduced into being a willing participant, unaware of the damage they are receiving.
The adult is in control. The adult is responsible. The child is a victim. A child’s “invitation” is not true consent, but the result of being manipulated.
The whole concept of statutory rape is that some people (especially children) are not in a position to give true consent.
Sometimes I think Fundies don’t recognize the existence of statutory rape.
They don’t seem to recognize the free agency of adults, so it doesn’t make sense to them to distinguish between adults and minors.
Miriam, I am so consumed with outrage that your father would say such a thing — yet I know there are many who do think that way (revealing them to be warped and shameful).
I’m reading the report and the Dr. Fremont story is in there. I was pretty vague in my statement above, but it is perfectly clear in the report.
My SIL–who had been counseled while at BJU–got notified by BJU, but the name on the envelope was my brother’s, not hers. So, that may have also accounted for some people not knowing about the survey/investigation. She only learned because *I* had heard about it; my brother was clueless.
I’m a BJU grad from the late 1980’s, never joined the Alumni Association, and I was notified by BJU about the GRACE investigation and received info about contacting GRACE if I wanted to be a part of the investigation.
If you received the info from BJU, then I suspect they were never aware of any allegations of abuse concerning them. I’ve read reports by people who regularly receive mail from BJU begging for money who were known victims and who did not receive any notice from BJU regarding the GRACE report.
I am a lifetime member of the alumni association. They haven’t kicked me out yet. Maybe I haven’t beeped too much on their radar.
Yet. We shall see, in time.
They sent me a nice letter in the late 1990s extending the right foot of fellowship.
Bald Jones Grad, I dropped out in the late ’80s with 3 1/2 years under my belt. While thankfully, I am not a victim of sexual abuse, I did see these counseling attitudes run rampant on campus. Even my dirty sink faucet shouted out my fallen nature to my hall leader.
I was never notified of the GRACE report by BJU. I knew about it anyway from other channels. Somehow, they still manage to send me the BJU Review and fundraising letters.
I haven’t read the whole report yet, and I may not, but this caught my eye:
“General attitude toward victims of sexual abuse communicated by representatives of Bob Jones University/Academy.
Indifferent 27.1% … 25.5%
Blaming and disparaging 55.9% … 61.7%”
(From table on report page 42)
BJU’s stance on victim making a police report:
Encouraged and/or assisted: 7.8% … 7.6%
Discouraged victim from making report: 20.9% … 21.2%
Directed victim not to make a report to the legal authorities: 27.0% … 25.8%
(From table on report page 41)
If the responses to the question about reporting to police are accurate, then BJU staff members did their legal and moral duty in less than 8% of cases, and committed criminal obstruction of justice in 25.8 to 27% of cases.
The university is going to be in major damge control mode now. It will be interesting, in a schadenfreud kind of way, to see what BJU does and says now.
That’s “damage control,” George.
When Discouraged victim from making report is reprehensible, inexcusable, and morally bankrupt. But the fact that so many reported that they were DIRECTED not to make a report?
I’m not a lawyer, but shouldn’t this be grounds for some sort of criminal investigation?
As I already said, it sounds like criminal obstruction of justice to me.
bjunews.com has the sound file of yesterday’s chapel message at BJU.
Basically the school’s position is, “sexual abuse is bad…..but we had no idea we were doing anything wrong until the GRACE report told us so.”
“May the unaccredited demon of Fundy U suffer greatly before it self-destructs”
This just in:
“Dr” Jim Berg hsa been trolling Ebay looking for a “magical TARDIS or other similar escape pod”
Also, former dean of men Tony Miller is standing atop the FMA screaming “It’s not our fault!! It’s those godless MSW’s!!!!” afterward Mr. Miller went on his trademark rant about how he played college football and somthing about masturbation….
SPECTACULAR. I don’t know any of those people, but got a big laugh from this comment
Dear SFL Reader:
We could wish that this would provoke discussion of these issues in the IFBC ‘network.’
not possible. This report is just the “World’s” attack on “God’s School” and “God’s Man”
Paul said there would be persecution…..this must be it. How could a school as secretive as BJU have anything to hide?
Dear Bibb Graves:
I have to concede that Yahweh must be protecting the school.
Given some of the p. 45 responses to reports of abuse, it is a minor miracle that no enraged young girl, her father, brother, or young husband ever walked into somebody’s office, pulled a side arm, and discharged until said person’s momma couldn’t recognize the face.
Yes, there’s that.
Just one round can do that, or so I’m told. As long as it’s the right round.
Let’s not give anyone step-by-step instructions, OK?
It is impossible for this to start dialogue amongst the network. As an HAC-grad, this will be looked upon in “the circle of fellowship” as a result of a “liberal” school going after accreditation and then being told by a more liberal organization how they should be running things. A rational thought could never be entertained that other IFB colleges may have similar victims and related illegal practices. Unfortunately, by the wing of fundamentalism that does not associate with BJU, it will be completely ignored; a product of our “independence.”
Bob Jones U is liberal?
GRACE is liberal?
My parents thought it was liberal some 32 years ago.
“”Dr. Jones, III has also repeatedly demonstrated a significant lack of understanding regarding the many painful dynamics associated with sexual abuse,” the report states. “Due to the central role Dr. Jones, III played in the many issues outlined within this report, it is recommended that the university impose personnel action upon Dr. Jones, III.”
“The report also says James Berg, a professor who handled much of the counseling of abuse victims, was largely responsible for failing the respond adequately to reports of sexual abuse and recommends that he no longer be allowed to teach on any issue related to sexual abuse and that he no longer be allowed to counsel students.
The BJU website lists Berg as teaching crisis counseling and says he has been teaching Christian counselors for 30 years.
The report also recommends that Berg’s books and other materials no longer be sold by BJU, both online or in its bookstore.
Sermons that are hurtful should be removed as well.”
That’ll leave a mark.
Having sat under the authority of Berg’s “trainees” and having all of Berg’s books pushed on me and being told to be silent and forgive, meanwhile I am ruined and broken…
All the above about Berg in the report feels like justice to me. Finally! Thank you to G.R.A.C.E for your recommendations and thank you to SFL for giving me a safe place to land.
Welcome aboard, Q!
Don’t stop there. Remove and all traces of Gothard’s and Jay Adam’s influence as well. Here’s decades worth of fruit. Repent and burn it all.
If BJU were to follow all of GRACE’s reccomendations, we would not even recognize the university any more. Imagine the impact such a repentance could have!
Unfortunately, history shows us that those in power will likely do the minimum they must to appear to have responded appropriately.
They could simply repackage the books etc. with someone else listed as the author.
Someone like Jemes Barg.
Ehrmegerd! Jemes Barg!
LOL at Tiarali !
BJU’s Pre-Report Response:
1) Shift the Focus to someone/something else – “societal problem…colleges and universities across the country…”
2) Victimize the Victims (again) – “who BELIEVE they received inadequate help” “students were not SATISFIED with the help they received” “who FELT they did not receive from us genuine love…”
3) Minimize the Problem – “20 out of 90,000 former students”
In typical IFB fasion, this is how they respond when confronted with serious issues of sin, failure, etc. This is the reason why any “change” or “improvements” will only be on the surface.
IGNORANCE is not the same as INNOCENCE.
On your points…
1) “I’m a victim of circumstance” – Uh, Not even all IFB schools are shrinking like BJU (hint: look at the regionally accredited ones)
2) Repentance is hard…especially for Pharisees
3) One student handled this way is too many
BJU wants it both ways. “We are the most exceptional Fundamentalist institution, best academics, blah, blah…” and “We didn’t know, no one told us about that, how were we to know” which go together cause the reality was they weren’t listening to anyone because they believed they were the most exceptional university on the planet and knew more than anyone else. (Oh, and were also more faithful to Jeebus, Haymen!)
Anyone who is unaware of having done wrong is unlikely to reform.
Maybe I am just simple minded, but it seems to me that it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that sexual abuse is wrong and so is covering it up. Then again, these people are so brainwashed, they don’t know their butts from a hole in the ground.
But if you don’t call it sexual abuse it doesn’t exist. Since it didn’t exist there was nothing to cover up. There, problem solved.
Wow, Lady Semp. You must have been a superb fundy.
That’s earth abuse
I believe, sadly, that BJU is very, very proud. They are proud of their separated stance and their strict rules; they believe they truly ARE holier than everyone else. Thus they cannot bear to let anyone see that maybe they too are only human, that they too sin, and that they too need to repent and ask forgiveness.
To them, preserving the flawless facade is more important than exposing sin. Covering up sin ends up to such a person being the “right” thing to do, that’s how warped someone’s thinking can become when legalism replaces grace.
Not sure of the exact timing, but the Rand Hummel chapel “sermon” with all the victim blaming referenced in the GRACE report has now been deleted from sermonaudio as well. Operation delete everything is in force.
While it’s terrible if they’re trying to cover up this kind of thing, it’s good, at least, that such harmful, unbiblical content is being removed.
Agree. In fact, it is one of GRACE’s recommendations!
I didn’t see aany promises to comply with the recommendations. I saw kinda-sorta-we-really-aren’t-this-way statements. But I didn’t see any promises.
In my opinion, the makeup of the Board would have to change substantially. To repudiate 3rd, Berg, and Fremont would be intolerable to their sense of loyalty.
This was an institution that chose to bear a heavy tax burden rather than admit its position on interracial dating and marriage was wrong. And its changes were only superficial at best.
I am glad for the recommendations. I will believe the followthrough when I see it.
Exposure of that sermon here and on other web sites was one of the key elements in exposing the systematic failure at BJU.
A report elsewhere (Al Jazeera?) got a clip of Rand Hummel’s sermon thanks to our Benevolent Dictator.
Good for him!
People can’t complain too much about that – that’s exactly the recommendation in the report.
Annie Moose, my guess is the analogy is that men “zap” quickly while women warm up slowly.
Another news article:
“For decades, Bob Jones University told sexual assault survivors that they were to blame for the abuse, and not to report it because doing so would damage their families, their church and the university, according to a long-awaited investigative report released Thursday.”
“We are all awakening to the depth and breadth of this societal problem,” Pettit said. “Colleges and universities across the country are reassessing how they handle cases of sexual abuse and assault. We want to be part of that solution. To do that, we must first take the mote out of our own eye and address our own failings. ”
Dude, if you think that’s just a mote in your eye, you didn’t read the GRACE report, or didn’t understand it.
For that matter, you don’t know the Bible, either, since Jesus said take the *plank* out of your own eye before addressing the *mote* in someone else’s eye. And what you’ve got at BJU is a whole lumberyard in your eyes.
I noticed that comment too. I don’t know Pres. Pettit at all, so I hoped this was just a misquote. But knowing the way they have applied the Bible to themselves over the years, it fits in perfectly. They are ALWAYS the better person in any passage. The rest of the world isn’t quite as holy. So, before they remove any more beams out of any eyes, they will remove this speck of dust out of their own.
I was a student in the ’80s. Dropped out because of this foolish arrogance. I still have nightmares that I’m back on campus to finish my schooling. I’m not kidding.
It’s not a misquote. I watched his 13 min video clip on the BJU website. He really called this their “mote.” I about choked.
“Move along folks. There’s nothing to see here that you can’t see at every other college in the USA.”
Wasn’t BJU breaking their cardinal doctrine of secondary separation by having this group investigate them?
Probably. Might even be tertiary seeing as it was the great-grandson of the BJU founder asking the grandson of Billy Graham.
The greater the degree of separation, the more godly you are! The god of nitpikiness, the god of divisiveness, the god of legalism, the god of narcissism. Just not the God Who is above all.
One thing about fundamentalism is that it deliberately inflicts abuse against any and all that challenge it. Abuse is its mindset, its operational default setting.
Look at police who come out in battle gear against unarmed, peaceful protest. By provoking the crowd they justify themselves.
It’s a bit off-topic here, but in the history of civil disturbances, more riots have been incited by police (or soldiers or paramilitary forces) than by protesters.
All right, Pensacola, when are you going to hire GRACE?
When a paper dog successfully chases an asbestos rabbit through the fires of hell.
So Jim Berg’s main excuse is that he didn’t know what the state and federal laws required, that he was completely self-taught and unsophisticated. Does this mean that we can all get refunds if we bought his counseling materials under the guise of his being an expert?
Except at Fundy colleges, teaching a subject and publishing books about it are considered kind of inconsistent with admittedly knowing nothing about said subject.
Expert : From “X”, that which is unknown, and “Spurt” which is a drip under pressure.
Dear James Berg:
Please complete this sentence:
‘Ignorance of the is ___ ________ .’
Sorry Jim …
‘Ignorance of the law is __ ______.’
“But, officer, I didn’t know the speed limit went from 55 to 25 in a school zone, so I shouldn’t receive a citation, right?”
Berg told GRACE that he has read a lot of books and attended one seminar on counseling.
No sh*t. I am not making this up.
I should have his job (except that I don’t want it).
I’ve read a lot of books, and I’ve been to more than one seminar on counseling.
Shucks, I’ve even seen “Ordinary People.”
You’ve spoken the basis for a lawsuit against the “university.”
That is precisely what Berg told GRACE.
I hope civil litigation ensues. A lot. So much they have to auction off their idolized art collection and close the doors of the “University”.
(p 142) Dr. Berg’s lack of formal training and professional supervision was evident in several judgment errors in the counseling he offered. These errors are documented in this report and include:
1) conflating disciplinary and counseling roles
2) employing a one session counseling model for complex cases of sexual trauma
3) the use of intrusive, hurtful questioning, sometimes in the initial session and
4) referral of cases of sexual trauma and victimization to untrained, minimally supervised Dorm Counselors.
‘ conflating disciplinary and counseling roles’
As a means of precluding due process? Is it possible? Perhaps I’m just ‘unforgiving,’ but I’m thinking ‘obstruction of justice’ here.
The report doesn’t attribute motives.
But they aren’t hard to infer…
I definitely. think some obstruction of justice was going on, especially as these guys view the judicial system as one arm of a secular and therefore godless power. That makes for some handy excuses to get one’s crappy, corrupt college off the hook of public notoriety.
But I think there were other motives as well, none of them good, that have to do with kowtowing to themselves as the ambassadors for pure religion, even in the face of all the evidence that their religion is not pure.
I am so glad that I am long divorced from my BJU-apologist former fundy CEO and his constant subtle blathering supporting the worlds most unusual university. Some of the contents of this report reveal just how bereft of actual scriptural exegetical abilities the powers that be at BJU possess. Its not even a matter of not having proper psychology training, but being careless and narrowly focused on proof texts when developing principles from God’s Word.
Its also amazing to me how much of Berg’s (and Wood’s) philosophies made it into the report relating to the fact that much of their worldview is not based on Christianity (either biblically or historically) but on Gnosticism and Platonic Dualism.
This bullshit they are peddling is something, but its not Christianity.
clap…clap…clap. Well said.
Yes! Preach it!
“The focus is on the “good” that was in Lucifer prior to his rebellion and not the evil and darkness that is associated with the name “Satan.” Though Lucifer and Satan are one and the same, Luciferianism portrays him as a god of light, a god of knowledge, and a god of magic. Luciferians seek to become gods themselves, a position attained by living a life of goodness, seeking after knowledge, practicing magic, and opening one’s mind to the cosmic mind of Lucifer. In many ways, Luciferianism resembles Gnosticism.”
Not the same thing at all. You seem to have stumbled upon a description of “Luciferianism,” whatever that may be. (I assume some variety of contemporary Satanism.) “Gnosticism” is a broad category of sects and ideas–representing several major religions–which are often characterized as emphasizing the salvific nature of spiritual knowledge (this goes together with the idea of a spiritual elite which possesses this knowledge), the undesirability or unreality of the physical world (perhaps it is created, corrupted, and/or ruled by the devil), and / or a regimen of spiritual purity.
“In his book,Becoming An Effective Christian Counselor: A Practical Guide for Helping People, Dr. Fremont discusses counseling victims of incest and explains that the first objective is to ensure that blame is appropriately assigned to ‘the older person who took advantage of the younger innocent person.’ However, Dr. Fremont states ‘If the victim has deceived either parent or both parents, he needs to confess and repent of his own sin.’ As an example, Dr. Fremont describes the case of a ‘teenage girl who takes a bath only when her mother is away from the home and leaves the bathroom door unlocked, inviting the father’s corruptness.'”
I don’t even know what to say about this…
You don’t need to say anything. “Dr.” Freemont shows himself to be a nut case.
Or very very sick
Not a nut case – a fucking pervert.
I was a student sitting in Dr Fremont’s Psych class when he trumpeted his advice to students from intact families not to date students from divorced families. Within a few years I knew it was bullshit and faithlessness on his part. But I must admit, there was a pleasure I had not anticipated in seeing another person so clearly spell out just how flawed and carnal his teachings were.
This advice was co-opted by the homeschool community that you should marry (and court) ONLY “like-minded” homeschooled young people.
My husband was in Dr. Fremont’s class when he said that about dating someone whose parents are divorced. He wrote a paper on that exact subject later in the semester and Dr. Fremont wrote “Just be sure you marry someone from a good family” ! Over 20 years of marriage later, we’re still doing just fine. Actually, all his siblings are still married, 20 years later.
Some of the nuttiest people I’ve known (or dated) were from “intact” families– if “intact” means the person’s parents were never-divorced and still married to each other.
My (and my husband’s) former boss took him in his office one day and told him not to marry me because I came from a “broken home.” There are a few problems with this.
1. I’d never talked to this man about my family, so any information he had was at best second hand.
2. This boss came from a “broken family” himself!
3. My husband came from a “broken family, too!”
So, not only was this man a hypocrite, he unknowingly insulted my husband as well. Oh, and he went to Bible college before he started running a restaurant…
Him saying that gives the lie to the Gospel, the GOOD NEWS, the NEW Covenant. You are deemed forever “no good” and “second-rate” because of something completely out of your control? How does that demonstrate grace in any way at all? How does that reflect the attitude or teachings of Jesus?
This unlocked door during bath time thing might be Top-3-of-all-time-fucked-up-things I have heard/read what fundies have said.
That is not “an example”. That is an aberration derived from the minds and fantasies of sexually repressed individuals who also claim to be the holiest people on earth. A truly dangerous combination.
Yeah, it’s seriously messed up.
I don’t know of anywhere in the world where “her door was unlocked” is accepted as a defense against a rape charge.
Only in the minds of rapists, and their apologists.
No kidding. It’s pretty hilarious how us men are told to be the “foundation and spiritual pillar of the house” because, you know… women are easily deceived and spiritually weak. But then the same morons get to claim that they have no control over their desires the moment they see a girl’s shin.
Bull. Shit. You can’t have it both ways.
I have said a lot about this, none of it repeatable
I’ll say it. Fremont is a PERV!
Now let’s see what happens. That will prove or disprove all of the perceptions we have of the current state of BJU. I personally believe Pettit was brought in to do the dirty work that would be necessary from the report and then will hand over the reins to someone more permanent who will not have the political fallout from the dirty, necessary, work. We shall see.
“Wet cleanup on aisle 4.”
Berg’s “ignorance” was calculation. BJU couldn’t afford to scare the customers by outing any criminals. Their whole business model is built on the feeder churches. You think they’re going to potentially burn a student pipeline because ONE kid in the church got molested? If BJU burned a feeder church, made them look bad, all those tuition paying kids in the future might end up at Pensacola.
I think you’re right, although I don’t know if it can be proven.
Trust me, if there was a $100,000,000 reward for reporting child molestation, BJU would have a 100% reporting rate.
Say what you want about the Jones family, but don’t say they don’t keep their money straight. They always got their mind on their money, and their money on their mind.
Okay, here’s the thing. I tried to watch Pettit’s apology message yesterday with an open mind. I wanted to see them do the right thing. I think that he did better than I expected and I remain hopeful that they will consider making some significant changes. I am concerned that overly harsh criticism at this juncture will cause them to say, “‘we’ll never please anyone so let’s just give up.”
But for now, BJU has unfortunately chosen to release the following “observations.” Number 4 is particularly concerning.
(1) “The report spans approximately four decades and GRACE invited participation from any person who has attended BJU since its inception and any friends or families of those students. As the report notes, its findings “may not adequately reflect the impact of changes in BJU’s policies and practices in the last several years or the University’s reply to the issues raised.’ (p. 28)”
So, right out of the gate, they are trying to minimize this with the good old “it must have happened a long time ago so it doesn’t really matter” excuse. (We see how that worked for Chuck Phelps, after all.) Never mind that the report itself is rife with allegations from students who attended in the 2000s and personally pins most of the blame on current (or very recently departed) faculty and administrators. But, hey, let’s throw the “dead Bobs” under the bus instead.
(2) “Of those who took the survey, GRACE identified 166 who reported personal histories of sexual abuse as a child or sexual assault as an adult. In two-thirds of those cases, the alleged perpetrator was not affiliated in any way with the University.”
This means that in 1/3 of the cases (or approximately FIFTY FIVE cases, the perpetrator WAS affiliated with the University)! This is a shocking statistic and accounts for AT LEAST one sexual abuse or sexual assault incident PER YEAR for the four decades that the report covers.
(3) ”Our understanding and approach to counseling sexual abuse victims developed and improved over the years as more research became available and significant progress has been made. We are committed to continue that progress.”
Translation: we are no better or worse than anyone else – we keep up with current research. So, our mistakes are shared by academia at large. Never mind that the report is chock-full of ADMISSIONS by University personnel that they have remained “behind the curve” with respect to best counseling practices. Indeed, they have deliberately done so because of their belief that their anachronistic “Bible-based” approach was superior. In addition, the report highlights how older “versions” of BJU’s counseling system continued to be promoted and sold by BJU, even as newer materials sometimes were updated.
(4) “It was never the intent of any BJU official, administrator, or faculty member to make victims feel they were responsible or more culpable for the violence they suffered than the abuser. The report explains, however, how some victims, given the distress over what they had endured, could be left with that impression from the counseling provided. Certainly, it was never intended to suggest that the teachings of Jesus and the Scriptures in any way could ignore the sin and criminal act of the abuser and shift the blame to the victim.”
There is so much packed in here, it’s hard to know where to begin. First, they make it very clear that any viewpoint by any victim that BJU did something wrong is actually another infraction by the “distressed” victim. This is just a continuation of their practice of blaming the victim for how the victim responds to their abuse. When it comes to victim-blaming, I’ve had enough. It’s like my own physically/emotionally abusive mother who always says that maybe she was wrong, but I deserved to be punished because I was rebellious and disobedient. Up till very recently, she took the position that my view that her abuse was wrong was, in itself, another example of my “rebellion.” Finally, BJU is being very squirrely in how they have carefully honed their message that they really, really, really do believe that the perpetrator is 100% responsible for what THAT PERPETRATOR did wrong. This in no way acknowledges the wrongness and pervasiveness of their view that the victim has usually ALSO done some wrong for which THAT VICTIM is 100% wrong. The report confirms in great detail that the powers-that-be still hold this disturbing view.
(5) “Most of the specific situations cited were drawn from individuals who, for understandable reasons, wished to remain anonymous. For the most part, the time frames are provided in terms of decades. Even if specific episodes could be identified, because of our responsibilities under Title IX and FERPA, we would be unable to comment specifically on any individual case.”
This is a huge middle finger to those in the victims’ rights community who have faulted BJU for NOT complying with federal law in this area. Now, when it suits them, they want to hide behind the fig leaf of federal confidentiality law. Title IX and FERPA, to the extent they apply here at all, are intended to protect the rights of VICTIMS, not provide a shield to an institution that is out of compliance with that law.
(6) “GRACE is devoted to the cause of preventing sexual abuse and their contributions are significant. All along, our hope has been that this report would give us greater clarity and direction in addressing these important challenges. While we have some questions regarding the process and methodology GRACE employed in conducing the survey and the report, the report is valuable as it identifies themes that can help us create a safer, more loving counseling environment. At this point BJU needs to review this report in exhaustive detail and to understand better the process GRACE followed, along with their recommendations.”
And so the minimizing, distortion, and distancing begins, I am sad to say. They have once again objectified and minimized the victims by reducing their painful, personal stories to “themes that can help us.” It really is all about BJU, folks.
I call BS on #3. It has NEVER been an acceptable counseling practice to blame a counselee for having been sexually assaulted, and it has ALWAYS been considered malpractice to tell a victim not to report the crime to legal authorities. These are not concepts that have changed over the years due to “more research” or “progress” in the field. They’ve been the baseline requirements since forever.
#4 is also an outrage. Some victims were so “distressed” that they wrongly understood they were being blamed??
It wasn’t just a few overwrought victims who had this impression.
25.5% of victims interviewed said the University’s representatives’ attitude was “indifferent,” while 61.7% described the attitude as “blaming and disparaging” the victims. That’s a total of over 87% who believe they were treated with indifference, blaming, or disparagement. That can’t be explained away as the hysterical reactions of a few panicked individuals. These are the perceptions of MOST of the respondents, not a few outliers.
Then there are the 21% who said University representatives discouraged them from reporting the crime to police, while 26% said Bob Jones faculty or staff directed them not to report to police. That’s 47%, or nearly half, of all victims. Again, those are not the perceptions of a few outliers– they were the most common experiences.
As for item #5, Deacon’s Son covers it well. It’s pretty late in the day to suddenly gain an appreciation of the paramount importance of confidentiality.
#6 is astonishingly weaselly. BJU hired its choice of investigators– it didn’t have some out-for-blood bunch of federal prosecutors on its tail. To then whine about the methodology used in the study is just childish.
Excellent analysis, DS.
“This terrible thing happened. What can we learn from it so that we can grow and improve?” Is a very common method of fake humility and acknowledgement that is used pretty much everywhere, from churches to companies to spouses.
True, and the difference between that and “I did this terrible thing. How can I make sure I never do it again?” is the difference between night and day.
the alleged perpetrator touched an adult victim’s private parts without her consent while he believed she was sleeping. Dr. Berg reflected, “We were looking at this as a moral offense, not a criminal offense.” Hopefully today we would see that.
^ ^ That is the entire problem. People not seeing the obvious as criminal behavior.
If you’re honestly so far removed from reality that you have trouble understanding the concept of “crime”, then it might be an idea to start examining the possibility that you’re in a cult. This isn’t normal.
Shortly after I graduated from PCC, I learned that some things were considered criminal and I remember wondering “How is it possible that I’m an adult and I didn’t even know this was illegal?”
Related question: How is it possible that the “adults” at BJU didn’t know about mandatory reporting of crimes against minors?
Those laws have existed for more than 30 years.
A lot of statements like this come up in the report: “Well, we intended X (some good intent), but we realize now that it came out as hurtful to victims.”
So why did this happen over and over again: counselors, preachers, and teachers, not ordinary screw ups, but leaders, kept inadvertently harming victims? (if we agree for arguments sake that the excuse is genuine.)
The answer still comes down to lack of love (or “insularity”), and a commitment to behavioristic outcomes that have nothing to do with what the Bible requires from church leaders governing grass roots members or elders governing followers or parents governing children.
What Berg/Wood/Fremont/Jones was trying to accomplish as he heedlessly walked over a vulnerable and suffering young person was, in itself, prideful and arrogant, and wrong. The report doesn’t go that far, but that’s the truth.
Why did this happen over and over?
Because their whole ideology is wrong and a perversion of Christianity.
That’s what it boils down to.
The false idols the Bob Jones clique has worshipped since the 1920s are dead gods– gods that lack the power to deliver their devotees from sin and death.
Thank God that Jesus Christ will save each of His people to the utmost!
Hebrews 7:24-25 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
Thank God that He saves us completely!
I’m only up to page 43, but it seems to me quite clear that through the investigation, BJU thought they could spin the outcome to make themselves look good, and actively tried to do so.
Some of the respondents to the initial survey, for example, had no experience of sexual abuse and just wanted to fill in the form to show their support for BJU. While I get that they like the school, it seems clear that the form wasn’t really needing information from them. And some of their statements seem to be lies anyway; for example, one of them claimed that they never heard sexual abuse discussed on campus, whereas victims claimed that they frequently heard mention of such issues.
Also, it states on page 43 that during interviews top BJU officials repeatedly claimed that victims were not responsible for their crimes, however that is not consistent with how the school has acted throughout its history.
So, the school was trying to deceive GRACE. Didn’t work.
So many times Berg or one of the other counselors would say “Oh I don’t remember saying that” or “I never would have said that.” Well no you wouldn’t remember, because you’ve talked with hundreds to thousands of students and weren’t paying close attention to every word you said. The person you’re counseling will have a much better memory of what was said because it was a one-time event at a time when they were desperate for help.
Sometimes I wish I had the gift these men have, of never remembering the stupid, wrong-headed, or downright mean things I’ve done. It would be nice to think I had never done wrong.
The pseudo-apology and immediate responses of BJU to the report only confirm what we all already knew. This “university” is “full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.” Unable to just admit they were wrong, accept the consequences, and make things right. They just. Can’t. Do. It.
So it seems.
They’re doing most of what people who consult on crisis management tell you NOT to do in such a situation. On the other hand, I’m not sure the BJU leadership even understands that it’s in a crisis.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
For all the carefull expressions and conclusions, the proof will be not so much in what BJU does or doesn’t do, but what the associated churches will do in their relationships with BJU.
I predict that most, if not all, the churches will simply minimize the report and its findings. Some may make a comment or two from the pulpit, while others will simply ignore the report, and the issue at large, leaving the sheeple in the dark.
It would be interesting to examine a survey of BJU-styled churches where members are questioned regarding their knowledge of the GRACE report and their recommendations. I feel that this is of particular importance since a large precentage of sexual abuse occurred in circumstance not affiliated with BJU (ie, feeder churches and their families).
Though BJU is not a church, it is primarily local, independant, fundamental Baptist churches that feed and support the machine that is BOB JONES UNIVERSITY.
I’m one of the exceptions having never heard of BJU until I was a young adult on my own and away from home.
I was thinking about that also. I almost want to be a fly on the wall in my old church’s upcoming service. The pastor is a HUGE supporter of Jim Berg. He plugs Berg’s books from the pulpit all of the time and “Conformed to His Image,” (I think that’s the name of it) a discipleship curriculum written by Berg, seems to be his answer to everything. I wonder if he will ignore the whole thing, defend his friends, or direct the congregation to pray for BJU’s repentance and further actions. I suspect he’s either going to be hush or speak in defense of Berg, but that might not be fair for me to say. All I know is the Berg-style counseling, teaching and preaching I received from him hurt me terribly. -I just had a vision of him using the church money to buy up all of Berg’s books before they are pulled. (Cynical, I know.)
If you wanted a lot of copies of Berg’s books, I imagine you could get them at fire-sale prices about now.
B.R.O, I’m about half way through the GRACE report. It’s a very interesting read.
Yesterday I watched the Pettit video, and was initially favorably impressed. Until reading this far in the GRACE report. PETTIT dramatically minimized the findings of the report, ostensibly in hopes that the “feeder” churches’ leadership will view the 13 minute Pettit video, dust their hands, and say, “There’s nothing to see here, folks.”
The GRACE report is damning. I encourage all to read it.,
Yeah, honestly after watching that video, and assuming that the Evangelist in Chief had seen the report already, I wondered if it would be pretty tame since he was continuing the same non-apology stance and shrugging it off as “things we have learned from in our past but are better now”
The actual report is much more damning than I expected – it hits at the core of what BJU apologists think is so unique and special about BJU. Turns out much of what they do is actually damaging their students. I saw this a long time ago just by talking to graduates, even the ones who thought BJU was fine would tell me things that just made me shake my head and praise the Lord I didn’t come from that camp of fundamentalism. BJU was considered liberal and “non-baptistic” in my particular funhouse.
One thing that comes across in the report is that a great many BJU students and former students *know* that the university did hurtful things to them. Maybe they aren’t quite as brainwashed as we think.
Regarding what associated churches will do. When the Tina Anderson 20/20 report aired, I listened to the sermon the following week from the old compound. The prick of a pastor mentioned if anyone had seen the program. His conclusion was that “things didn’t work out for some people and they just got bitter”. So I will not hold my breath that any churches will acknowledge what is obvious. Many will ignore it all together.
Perhaps I have a vivid imagination, or maybe I connect dots that don’t really meet, but I find it interesting that Stephen Jones (Jones Sr.’s great-grandson and recently resigned BJU president) reached out to Billy Graham’s grandson, Boz Tchividjian for this investigation, in the first place. (Note: Bob Jones Sr. and Billy Graham were sort of rivals in their day. There was much mudslinging from Jones toward Graham, if I have it right.)
Stephen Jones received much criticism (and some praise) for loosening of some of the rules at BJU. He appeared to be much less arrogant and much more sensitive toward the students than any of his predecessors. Stephen Jones then began missing much work and he was suffering with vague symptoms (vertigo, fatigue, etc., for which no cause was found) which led him to then resign. BJU then fired G.R.A.C.E., but shortly thereafter reinstated them, after much backlash from the public.
I agree with whomever it was who Described Pettit as the “clean-up guy.” -His first real task as college prez appeared to be damage control for the G.R.A.C.E. report. There was an apology there, but it was weak.
Do you think perhaps Stephen Jones became ill with psychosomatic symptoms, because of the likely unhappiness his family may have had with him, for his actions in hiring G.R.A.C.E.? Or is it possible that the illness was just a cover for him being asked to step down, for not following the family tradition of coverup and victim-blaming, but rather challenging it, instead?
I may be way off base with all of that, but the whole thing struck me that way. Anyway, In addition to my gratitude towards G.R.A.C.E for the fine job they did, I think that Stephen Jones may also be deserving of commendation for hiring the firm in the first place. It seems to me that he may really have wanted to turn the place around to become the kind of God-honoring institution it pretended to be. I don’t know if it will work or not, or what will come from all of this, but I think his heart may really have been in the right place.
Billy was never alone. Wherever Billy went, the crowd followed. And the truth was, Billy was always in the center of the crowd. You needn’t be a mensan to see that Billy HAD to majorly peeve Bobby by upstaging Sr. at his own school.
Could Steve possibly have been more arrogant than his predecessors? Could he be less sensitive?
Of course Mr. Pettit is the damage control guy; but an apology is never appropriate because it is not Biblical. Christians don’t apologize. Christians confess their wrongdoing, which is the theological import for the word ‘sin.’ Having confessed their sin, Christians ask for forgiveness.
If he suffers from psychosomatic symptoms, Steve Jones ought never to have been elevated to President. But then that applies equally to his predecessors, since I for many years drew a straight line between University craziness and Jones’ family dysfunctionality. And I have to cede that if poor Stephen must have come by it honestly. As Scripture says, ‘visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations…’
As for Stephen’s intentions … well … the gospel is that Yahweh shows hesed to a thousand generations of those who love him.’
Dear Christian Socialist,
Thank you for your response.
My suggestion is that Stephen may have really been trying to do the right thing and then his father + followers put insane pressure on him, which may have caused him to break down, or they ousted him and made it look like he was ill, as an attempt to put an end to the investigation, thereby preventing exposure. Stephen initiated the actions that brought about this professional public rebuke on BJU and named the chief culprits. Is it possible that someone who witnessed all of this, “from the inside,” wanted to put an end to it and make things right?
I thought it was doubly interesting that the professional rebuke came from a Graham descendant. From what I understand, Billy Graham is and always was a very nice guy, while Jones was, well, Bob Jones.
I just wanted to offer credit where it may be due. I grew up in a dysfunctional ministry family, built on the Jones’ model, who erected a mini-Jones-style empire, where I, along with my siblings, cousins and friends, suffered the same abuses. My generation were the first ones in the family to not only abandon fundy ways, but also speak out about how wrong it all is, which caused us additional suffering. We were labeled in our local community for who our family was and we caught hell from the family for daring to “do right,” for real.
I could be wrong about it and just have read too much into it. I can’t help but be intrigued by the family dynamics. I have always wondered why Bob IV walked away and the Stephen episode just adds to the mystery. I could also be wrong about Stephen’s intent. His action of hiring G.R.A.C.E. could have just been an attempt at damage control (gone awry), as the Tina Anderson case, with Phelps involvement (the BJU connection), had just been brought to public attention by Chris Peterman with his protest. I really don’t know, that is why I brought it up, to see what others think. In any case, I’m grateful for the report, as well as eager to see what happens next.
Grace and peace to you, my friend. You did something so hard! At one point, I asked myself the same question re: the IVth and a possible attempt to break the cycle. But I did not give that as much thought as I ought. By telling your story, you have put flesh and blood on this possibility.
You’ve made me recall something I was told 20 years ago, that Triplesticks [Bob Jones III] was facing the worst problem a man could have. On my asking, he said simply, ‘his own son…’
Perhaps someone reading this will know an older man of grace, wisdom and intelligence, who is in position to come alongside him. He may be a deeply hurting individual.
Questioner — Yahweh bless and keep you, Yahweh make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you. Yahweh turn his face toward you and grant you his peace.
Do I understand you right, CS? That Bob III once said his own son was “the worst problem a man could have”?
That’s very interesting, to say the least.
Normally, it would be a private family matter, but since Bob Jones U was always run as a family business, what happens in the dynasty of Jones is also what happens to the University.
The son he was talking about ma have been IV instead of Stephen. IV was the rebellious one.
Dear Big Gary:
The quote in question came from a graduate who moved on to become a PCA pastor. He observed that things were happening and that ‘the Third’ was having the worst problems that a man could have — trouble in his own family.’ Sorry for the confusion there.
The young Jones formerly wrote for ‘World’ Magazine, and said/did other things that could never be reconciled with BJU Presidency.
That said, your observation re: the school bearing the imprint of Jones family dysfunctionality is in my view, spot on!
Thanks for bringing up the confession of sin and asking forgiveness aspect, CS. I just used it at WYFF’s comments page as something Pettit didn’t do (also the whole “mote” comment).
A TV station in the area reporting on the topic. Looks like they are going to be close to the action.
Dear SFL Reader:
I cheated. When I downloaded the document from the GRACE website, I went to the last page first. Found this:
When an abuse allegation is reported, BJU will cooperate fully with any law enforcement or regulatory agency investigation …
Greenville Police Department — 862-467-5325
When allegations are sure to make it to the police, the alligators will experience significant disempowerment.
nice touch, CS.
John Piper posted BJU’s pre-emptive PR video on his facebook page and called it “encouraging”. Like WTH?
(scroll down to find)
John Piper is a misogynist who tells abused women to submit to their abusive husbands. He probably thinks the persecution of BJU is unwarranted.
Piper is probably no more misogynist thanosy fundies. Misogyny is part of fundystan’s culture
Piper is no more misogynist than most Fundamentalists. Misogyny is so deeply ingrained into the culture of Fundystan it might be be impossible to change the mindset without causing the rest of the culture to implode. I mean, if they are wrong in that aspect, what else might they have got wrong?
I’m thinking misogyny is not an incidental by-product of Christian Fundamentalism, but a big part of its raison d’etre.
I’ve said this on SFL before. The big growth of Fundamentalism in the 20th century was largely a reaction against the African-American civil rights movement, and then a reaction against feminism and equal rights for women. In other words, Fundamentalism is a defensive redoubt of (white/Anglo-Saxon) patriarchy as a power system and world view. Lately, Fundies rage against LGBT people and multiculturalism, but what’s being defended is still patriarchy.
They find much support for this in the Old Testament, but very little in the New Testament, except for a few throw-away lines in the Epistles. But you take your proof texts wherever you can get them.
Piper isn’t exactly known for his wisdom online…
I guess you could find encouragement in that statement. But I just see defensiveness, some of it fairly absurd (see Deacon’s Son’s commentary above).
The above comment refers to John Piper’s comment on the video of President Steve Pettit’s statement (my response got separated from the original comment).
Different people can legitimately get different messages from the same text. My reaction to Mr. Pettit’s statement is mostly that I think he is understating what the GRACE report said was wrong with how BJU operates. At the very least, he’s spinning it.
Scrolling through the comments here, I don’t see something that I think should be discussed: this report can serve as a basis for several civil lawsuits against the university and the individual … er, “instructors” named. One potential suit could be a class action suit from alumni charging the university allowed unqualified persons to mis-instruct the students in the classrooms. Individuals could could sue for the … “counseling” they received. Now no doubt, someone is going to trot out the Corinthians passage against lawsuits. That’s how these jackasses got away with their abuses for so long in the first place. Sue the school!
The lawsuits could and should include some of y’all ^^^. You paid money for that buckshot Fremont, Berg, et al were teaching. It enabled them to continue. Get your money back. So what if the school has to sell a Rubens and a Rembrandt to settle the suits. That’s part of a price it should have to pay.
Um, I didn’t type “buckshot.”
I suspect that this report would pretty much kill BJU’s chance at accreditation. I mean, they clearly are not Clery compliant. Does anyone who knows more about the US regional accreditation system have more info?
The lack of academic credentials of much of the faculty is enough to keep BJU from getting regional accreditation.
This would be a big deal for accreditation, but Clery compliance is demonstrated by having a written process and documents in place. In other words, it wouldn’t be too difficult to get compliant (there are companies that offer off-the-shelf solutions and training for less than $100K). A lot of folks don’t realize how incredibly stringent regional accreditation can be in regards to quality learning – which is of course the point of accreditation. For example, there are rules about the ratio of reference librarians to students! The point being that I have my doubts BJ could acquire accreditation regardless.
The story made the New York Times.
A.B.W.E. shut down their G.R.A.C.E. investigation after some of the “witnesses” were interviewed. BJU’s attempt to fire G.R.A.C.E. could have occured after Jim Berg and BJU III was questioned and saw what was comming….
Seems like most universities are struggling with these issues in some part – UVA for instance. Not to be insensitive to those who didn’t get support they needed, but BJ isn’t unique in this matter. I am somewhat surprised that there isn’t more in the report… A similar assessment of UVA, Clemson, or Stanford or Pensacola would provide an interesting baseline.
Wouldn’t excuse the past nor would it justify status quo – but would provide some perspective…
Lot of tunnel vision here when the topic is BJ…
Now, now. Enough of this. Trying to say, “we aren’t so bad. Just look at them!”
Paul says that those who compare themselves with other to make themselves look better aren’t wise.
“The World” has its acknowledged problems. Christians pretend to have all the answers and pretend their problems don’t exist while they disdain other who are having the same problems as they. Their claims to the answers make their problems worse. Their arrogance will ensure the problems continue.
PCC is probably comparable to BJU on this, in part because they have a similar culture to BJU, and in part because they have taught in the past (and may still teach) that many rapes are initiated by the victim. They also had similar reliance on the “nouthetic” counseling philosophies of Jay Adams and whatnot, as I recall.
So, the moment when BJU becomes like the rest of the world is on the issue of sex crimes. … How about being actually Christian at this moment? At least UVA has taken some deliberate action.
What an odd reply!
Seems like most universities are struggling with these issues in some part
IES lists 2,870 4-year institutions in the US. There are five institutions in your comment, representing less than one fifth of one percent. For more on baseline sampling, consider Pierre Gy’s Sampling Theory and Sampling Practice. Heterogeneity, Sampling Correctness, and Statistical Process Control .
Not to be insensitive to those who didn’t get support they needed, but BJ isn’t unique in this matter.
Well it is insensitive, but more importantly, it is irrelevant. Even if you had facts to demonstrate this claim, actions don’t have to be unique to be evil. I suppose the next time a homicide happens in your neighborhood you will shrug and comment that people get murdered all the time?
Wouldn’t excuse the past nor would it justify status quo – but would provide some perspective…
Perspective on what? I assume you are referring to the idea that the sins of BJU are somehow widespread, an idea that as I already pointed out you have no factual basis for. But even granting this theory, how does comparing one school with another provide any perspective on shattered lives or institutional injustice? Are we writing a sociological report, or dealing with a specific school’s sins?
Lot of tunnel vision here when the topic is BJ
The topic is BJU. Some of us would appreciate it if you would stop trying to deflect.
P.S.: know thyself, indeed…
OK, a few points here:
You do make a valid point that there are plenty of colleges around the country that haven’t always dealt properly with the issue of rape on campus. The issue of how best to handle allegations is being intensely debated right now. You can find plenty of examples of institutions who have screwed up in not taking allegations seriously.
On the other hand, just for starters, none of those state schools requires students to sign a “covenant” governing student behavior, and the administration doesn’t have nearly the influence over how a student who has been abused might seek recourse as the administration at BJU would have. I can’t imagine a state school *instructing* a student not to file charges with the authorities, or even discouraging it – even if that school doesn’t take the charges seriously, and doesn’t follow up on them.
The other issue, though, is counseling. I seriously doubt that a student who’s been raped on campus, and who seeks counseling at student health, or through any campus-provided or campus-referred therapist at a state school would be asked what her “root sin” was. Or if she shared in the blame because she might have enjoyed it. Or be pressured, from the start, to focus on forgiving her attacker above all.
There’s also the issue of the campus culture. When chapel messages, classroom instruction, and the general attitude of teachers and administrators sends the message that victims of abuse, in general, are to share in the blame, it’s going to make it less likely for those victims to seek help, and it’s going to make it less likely for those counseling them to have any decent help to give. When the school’s view of women is as a stumbling block to men, there are going to be problems.
But this just touches on the issue of rapes that occurred to students, while they were at BJU – the situation that’s analogous to what’s happened at, say, UVA. The GRACE report also covers counseling of students who have sought help for abuse they suffered when they were underage, at the hands of adults in their lives. And the counseling they received, by BJU, was counterproductive and harmful. I’ve never heard of any analogous situation at a state school in recent memory.
You’re right that other schools have issues, and the issue of rape on campus, and elsewhere, needs to be dealt with everywhere. There’s a big discussion to be had, and plenty of opinions on the best ways forward. But by any measure, BJU is an outlier.
temetnosce, I respectfully disagree. UVA and other schools made horrific mistakes, granted.
BJU systematically counseled sexual assault victims to just forgive their attacker; asked if they victim experienced pleasure during the sexual assault; actively discouraged reporting of sexual assaults or child molestation to the authorities. Then they codified this satanic system into counseling training by Jim Berg.
How is this like those ‘secular’ colleges? BJU did what it did in the name of the Lord, with the supposed authority of Scriptural prooftexts used to revictimize and psychologically bludgeon the victims.
Read the GRACE report. It will change your thinking, I suspect.
Shitty advice and dysfunctional thinking is everywhere. The difference with BJU (and SGM and other similar cases) is that they’ve marketed themselves as being exceptional and superior in both morals and wisdom. They act in the name of God.
temetnosce – It’s comical that you include Stanford in with Pensacola and BJU. Or UVA and Clemson for that matter. The “interesting baseline” would be that some of those are real colleges where people learn and explore and prepare themselves for the future. The PCCs and BJUs of the world are nothing more than glorified babysitting services for young adults.
Berg: “In a statement to investigators with GRACE, Berg acknowledged shortcomings in juggling the jobs of dean of students and counselor, saying he felt at times like a medic on the battlefield.”
Except, jackass, medics don’t pass out cyanide pills.
Everyone else is probably thinking what I’m thinking:
This is truly the army that shoots its wounded.
“Any campus that invites sexual offenders back onto its campus is a risky place for victims.” –GRACE report page 109.
Page 108: “In one reported case BJU did not hold the alleged perpetrator to biblical repentance. In this instance, an adult victim reported that the alleged perpetrator, a BJU student at that time, committed a sexual offense against her while he believed she was asleep. BJU administrators confronted the alleged perpetrator who confessed to the offense but minimized the extent of what the victim reported. Though what he admitted to was still a crime, the perpetrator did not turn himself in to the civil authorities, and neither did BJU.”
“Imagine the deep pain and betrayal a victim would feel knowing their rapist prayed in front of the entire school and was honored as a missionary, all while refusing to acknowledge the reality of his crime or to turn himself in to the civil authorities? It is little wonder that BJU’s continued authorization of the perpetrator and his mission board to return to the Bob Jones campus as a missions representative during Missions Emphasis week every year feels like a “mockery.”
“Not only did this perpetrator not subject himself to the civil authorities more than 20 years ago, but he was allowed to become a missionary (with full knowledge of BJU) and he has not returned to the United States to take responsibility for the crime he committed. In addition, BJU allowed this former student who confessed to sexual assault to return to campus as a mission board representative for Missions Emphasis Week in 2011. Since that time, BJU has continued to permit his mission board back to campus, knowing that the mission board continues to employ a confessed sex offender.”
Q & A from BJU:
Q: GRACE recommends taking action against specific employees. What are your plans in this area?
A: The personnel recommendations, along with the other recommendations, will be reviewed over the next 90 days by a committee appointed by the president of the University.
Q: Does Bob Jones University accept the findings in the report?
A: BJU accepts that it needs to improve in some areas, but we need time to complete our review and determine appropriate action. We are in the process of thoroughly reviewing findings and recommendations contained in the report. We stand committed to making needed changes to better reflect our values and show victims of abuse and assault the love of Jesus Christ
Q: Does BJU blame victims for sexual abuse and sexual assault?
A: Victims should never be blamed for abuse or assault. The fault lies solely with the perpetrator of the horrific crime. In hindsight, we see how some could have interpreted our teaching, preaching, and counseling as indifference and insensitivity to those who needed help the most.
Q: Did BJU discourage students or others from reporting sexual abuse and assault?
A: Some reported to GRACE that they were discouraged from reporting. If this occurred, it is unacceptable. In our policies and procedures, we have made it abundantly clear that any child sexual abuse or suspected abuse is to be immediately reported to local law enforcement and we have made each employee of Bob Jones Academy and BJU a mandatory reporter.
Institutions of higher education are to provide adult student victims the option to (1) notify proper law enforcement authorities, including on-campus and local police; (2) be assisted by campus authorities in notifying law enforcement authorities if the victim so chooses; and (3) decline to notify such authorities.
Q: In the report, GRACE provides sketches of individual cases spanning over 30 years. What is BJU’s response to these cases?
Federal privacy laws limit our ability to respond to the individual cases. What we can say, however, is that we sincerely appreciate the courageous individuals who shared their experiences with GRACE, and we apologize that we did not meet their important needs.
We gather that GRACE used the cases to illustrate certain points, and we will consider these points in our efforts to continuously improve our response to reports of sexual abuse and sexual assault.
With regard to our current policies, as an educational institution subject to FERPA, Title IX, and the Clery Act, current procedures provide:
If a member of the faculty/staff of Bob Jones Academy or Bob Jones University has reason to believe a minor has been abused or neglected either on or off campus, he or she must immediately contact local law enforcement authorities to make a mandatory report.
Any student of Bob Jones University who has reason to believe a minor has been abused or neglected on or off campus must immediately report the incident to local law enforcement.
If an adult student at Bob Jones University is assaulted on-campus, the student is encouraged to report to local law enforcement immediately. Institutions of higher education are to provide adult student victims the option to (1) notify proper law enforcement authorities, including on-campus and local police; (2) be assisted by campus authorities in notifying law enforcement authorities if the victim so chooses; and (3) decline to notify such authorities. In addition, in compliance with Title IX, BJU will initiate an internal investigation and disclose the assault on its annual Clery Report.
If an adult student at Bob Jones University is assaulted off-campus, the student is encouraged to report to local law enforcement immediately. Institutions of higher education are to provide adult student victims the option to (1) notify proper law enforcement authorities, including on-campus and local police; (2) be assisted by campus authorities in notifying law enforcement authorities if the victim so chooses; and (3) decline to notify such authorities. In addition, in compliance with Title IX, BJU will initiate an internal investigation
What I read here is: In no case does BJU accept responsibility unconditionally. Every single answer here contains weasel words.
No one will accuse me of being a BJU supporter. I compared these responses to the University of Georgia (which is right outside my window). This is now standard language. Not weasel words, but legalease words.
Legalese language is Weasel language, intended to release the powerful from all liability and shackle the less powerful away from remedy or recourse.
Look at a credit-card contract. It is essentially a contract for slavery. They can change all conditions at will, but the cardholder cannot change anything. There is no access to the courts for redress since an arbitrator of the credit card’s choosing must make the decision. If you aren’t at the hearing (usually thousands of miles away), you lose automatically. If you don’t know about the hearing, you lose even if the CC company didn’t tell you. The cardholder gets all the risk, all the blame and the company gets all the rights.
That seems to be how fundamentalism operates as well. The Authority claims complete Right and the Submissive gets complete Wrong.
The Greenville Solicitor’s Office is launching an investigation into BJU:
This is good news!
I just read a tweet from @kimberlyonair that some of these cases were on his desk a year ago. Perhaps the report gave him enough info to finally pursue.
BJU area Yik Yaks are a mix, but a lot of people think the GRACE report is no big deal and “emotional abuse is not a crime”. They obviously have not taken the time to read the report or are just of the Fundy mindset that abuse is not a big deal.
“Emotional abuse is not a crime.”
No, but it is morally wrong and completely antithetical to the Gospel of Christ. Christians aren’t just to avoid committing crime; they are called to be good, gentle, loving, joyful, peaceful, and patient. They are never to abuse others or shrug away abuse.
Emotional abuse is sometimes a crime. It depends on the setting and the particulars.
In fact, emotional abuse of someone who can’t get away is legally torture under the international Convention Against Torture (CAT).
And emotional abuse of someone who has appealed to you for protection and succor is, at the very least, a violation of a sacred trust.
Y’all should see the WYFF report comments.
This was a good comment to that WYFF story:
“Wow….is all I can say. You hired your own investigators….you make them leave….then after negotiations you let them come back. You are blaming your lack of response on pure ignorance of not knowing the law in abuse situations…..really???? And finally you wait this long to apologize……after being told to. Hummmmmm……I really find all this hard to believe. Do the Christian thing and tell the truth for once.”
Another comment from WYFF:
“Their hands are not up, their comments are equivocal at best,and, by the way, did BJU report the crimes and the administrators who covered these crimes to police? I’m guessing the answer is no. They’ll have to shake down the students, the churches, and maybe even sell some of the art Bob Jr. got from nebulous sellers after WWII to pay for the coming lawsuits
“Do right – till the stars fall from the
sky – do right.” Bob Jones, Sr.
Unless we look bad – Bob Jones III”
Random thought. When I was much younger I knew a christian lady who could never admit to being wrong. She did and said a lot of very hurtful things and if anyone challenged her she basically denied it and accused that person of lying. He hurt me a couple of times and when I challenged her she said “Are you sure you’re not making that up?” I think the victims of abuse are often asked that same question. Not only are they hurt by the abuse but it is compounded when their integrity is attacked. Double whammy. If you hear that often enough you begin to doubt that these things really happened and you no longer consider them to be real and you no longer even trust yourself. Nobody believes you, you dont even bwlieve yourself.And the perpetrator gets off scot free. Triple whammy.
Maybe that is why this kind of report has been so long in coming?
Nice meme comparing statements BJU made before the report to info in the report:
Ohhh, that chart is good.
And it’s mostly direct quotations, which makes it hard for BJU to argue with it.
BJU will still find a way
Yes, they’ll probably say it’s all taken out of context or something like that.
That’s a great chart!
I just realized that few of those buildings in the pic existed when I was a student at BJU!
I don’t recognize any of the buildings. But I’ve been out of there for almost 35 years. Thanks be to God.
Colleges, like churches, are very susceptible to the Edifice Complex.
Pharoahs gotta build their pyramids.
In this case it’s, “They gotta build their ‘Cup-a-Jones!” (small tan brick building in the middle…it’s the tan one!”
Same here. Only the library and dorm in the background. I remember seeing the seminary building on a visit, but never saw the smaller building to the right. Is it an ice cream shop or what?
Despite the GRACE Report’s recommendations that Dr. Berg no longer teach counseling, he is still on the spring class schedule for Crisis Counseling:
THIS calls for an in-their-face, on campus, mass protest.
Will this protest include red balloons and a former speech faculty member?
And students who get expelled before graduation for their involvement?
“It is recommended that as long as Dr. Berg is employed by BJU, he no longer be authorized to teach on any issue related to sexual abuse or victimization.”
To me, the 1st phrase sounds like the operative one, …”as long as Dr. Berg is employed by BJU…” I think this is the nicest possible way of saying “Fire his ass!” Perhaps they should have been blunt.
I’ve searched the “school’s” website, and I think the course has been scrubbed. I don’t doubt that it was there, however. Damage control (operative word: control) in effect.
It’s still listed under Jim Berg’s profile. I went looking cause I was hoping the Bergs were gone.
I stand corrected. I looked in the undergraduate biblical counseling program.
And seen this, it is completely unacceptable. Nobody should have to wait 90 days for a report review to get this guy gone.
Even worse, here’s the catalog description of Berg’s course:
SCM 635: Crisis Counseling 3 CR.
Presents biblical strategies for handling the crisis of suicide; extensive coverage of childhood sexual abuse; offers help in understanding the nature of abuse and biblical help for overcoming the effects of abuse. Examines the recover/12-step movement from a biblical standpoint; looks at the crisis of life- dominating sins (addictions); presents a biblical view of sin; help for working with eating disorders, drugs and alcohol; covers the crisis of immorality; teaches a biblical view of sex; gives help for dealing with pornography, homosexuality, adultery, etc.
It’s too bad Dr. Henry Howard Holmes isn’t available to teach this course.
Looking at the description of that course; it shouldn’t be taught.
A synopsis after reading the GRACE report:
“Dr.” Jim Berg, “Dr.” Walter Fremont, “Dr.” Wood, and “Dr.” Blob Jones III are all steaming piles of sh*t who trod upon sexual abuse victims and cared nothing for their emotional or spiritual well-being, or for their future. They did this in the name of Christ.
This was nothing but sociopathy. God help the victims. Please. Heal them.
Amen to all that, brother.