There was a rumor flying around that the GRACE report might disappoint those who have something at stake in the discussion of protecting sex abuse survivors at Bob Jones University. It’s somewhat big, about 301 pages. GRACE goes out of their way to say the materials in the report are not to be construed as ‘an attempt to bring about any legal action.’
Outside of one incident where a BJU student assaulted a girl in her sleep, Al Jazeera has exposed way more than you’ll read in this report. The bulk of the report centers on BJU teachings, how they have affected their counseling methods, and the problems when you combine discipline with counseling.
Jim Berg’s teachings are given prominent space in the report. How could they not? It was in a videotape that was circulated during the information gathering stages of this report. While his teachings are taken to task, he is portrayed as someone who appears to be evolving and, unless I skipped it, there are no calls for firing Mr. Berg. Just taking to task what he said, asking to remove his books, and not letting him counsel regarding sex abuse. Also, they want ‘personnel action’ against Bob Jones 3rd for his intentional ignorance on sex abuse. What does that mean? Do a public shaming at the university? Law suit? What? Some vague thing called ‘repentance’.
The report does not mention the protests. It backs up BJU’s rewrite that Stephen Jones, out of concern for what was happening in state run colleges regarding sexual assaults, decided to hire GRACE.
A few names are named. Mainly BJU professors. The GRACE staff is kept anonymous while the report touts the values of transparency. With few exceptions, no victim’s testimonies are recorded. There are very few testimonies in the report that you couldn’t get from other news sources. Nothing about group homes, unless that slipped by me while I was speed reading through the Sunday School lessons that occasionally punctuate this report. The legacy of Lester Roloff is safe.
Anyway, it’s over! I’m only speaking for myself, not those whose life’s work will continue to revolve around supporting or damning BJU. It’ll be interesting to read what other people think of this long awaited document.
Read it for yourself, and get those blogs going!