Stephen Jones, the president of Bob Jones University, has tendered his resignation. His final day is May 9, 2014, commencement. During his reign, faculty and staff who were approaching retirement were fired, BJU attempted (and still is attempting) to get accreditation, BJU stole the name ‘the Bruins’ from UCLA and that became the name of their basketball team, his goatee relaxed the hair code, and, last but not least, he hired Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE) to do an independent investigation into how the university has responded to abuse complaints.
Reactions from cyberland to Jones’ resignation have been schizophrenic.
Jones is resigning for medical reasons. Many cybercritics, having no medical credentials (and yet, would criticize non-credentialed fundamentalist leaders for refusing to call a doctor for a student because ‘he’s not really sick’), have doubts that Stephen Jones is actually ill. Not gonna go there!
I think the big concern is that the new president will either fire GRACE or suppress the upcoming GRACE report. That’s plausible. The GRACE report is supposed to be coming out in 2014. Stephen’s final day is May 9, 2014. That’s five months to get the report out! Unless they’re being really sluggish, or finally understanding the real implications of their findings, it should be out before the end of the Spring semester, wouldn’t you think?
I believe we’ll get a GRACE report. They have the time. Stephen, unless he has truly relinquished all powers, is still president until May. I certainly don’t want BJU to fire GRACE. I can just hear the criticism, “The problem wasn’t with GRACE, it was BJU that fired them!” GRACE will be martyred on BJU’s altar of immediacy.
And now, attending my own schizophrenia on this issue. . .
If BJU fires GRACE, they are certainly within their rights!
If I were a supporter of BJU, I’d be pretty livid that anyone from Liberty University is putting themselves in a position of judgement over my favored institution. “Really? We had eight sexual assaults, but they were all from the same individual. What about your nine sexual assaults? And how did Jerry Falwell answer the question, ‘Why did Bob Gray resign from Trinity, Brother Falwell?‘ Anyone else on your staff know about this? And exactly how long had you been hearing rumors about Pastor G at the Richmond Outreach Center? And you’re going to judge us?”
People will rightly point out that GRACE and Liberty University are two separate institutions. The only common denominator is that founder/head, Boz Tchividjian, is a professor at Liberty University’s law school. We’re to ignore the individual in favor of the organization.
Just like Bob Jones University kept getting linked to Trinity Baptist Church in Concord, New Hampshire. Chuck Phelps was not even the pastor of the church during this controversy. Chuck Phelp’s decisions while pastor of TBC became linked to BJU policy, even though both are separate organizations. BJU critics will rightfully hold Phelps accountable, but still blame BJU because it quietly went along by not condemning Phelps. The logic stops when GRACE and Liberty University enter the picture.
If we don’t get a GRACE report, the very people who criticize me for being a conspiracy nut will themselves become conspiracy nuts. You don’t want that to happen, BJU! Otherwise, they’ll have no credibility.
Opps. . .forget I said that!