Bob Jones University has published its new Student Handbook for the upcoming school year, changing and updating a number of policies. A few are detailed below. Click here to download a .pdf of the new yearbook; BJU scrubs previous years from its website once new yearbooks are published.
(Pg. 51) This section on counseling is brand new, and seems to be in response to the University’s image problem regarding sexual abuse. Note that although counseling is offered, no mention is made of any counselors outside of BJU’s influence, nor of any licensed therapists. The “counselor” mentioned here in relation to abuse victims is unidentified, and no mention of abuse reporting made.
(Pg. 48) BJU here reiterates the non-dissent policy it added to the handbook last year (we covered it here). Clearly, BJU intends to continue expulsion and intimidation of student dissent as an official policy. What’s interesting here is the wide-ranging nature of the prohibition: “any attempt” at “disparaging” the school will be met, not just with disciplinary action, but with expulsion. The job of determining what constitutes “disparaging” is, one assumes, left to the Dean of Students.
(Pg. 30) BJU lays out its position on students’ use of social media. The school is clearly trying to head off more controversies, cracking down on anything not “positive”, and requiring that students make complaints through official venues rather than expressing any kind of dissatisfaction publicly. Also addressed specifically are “videos taken on campus”, probably due to a small dustup that took place last year over a video of students dancing to
“Gangnam Style” the “Harlem Shake” in front of the men’s dorms.
(Pg. 19) Changes to the school’s church attendance policy can be seen here. BJU now requires an invasive system of self-reporting to track student church attendance since Sunday morning campus service no longer exists.
(Pg. 46) This section is not new, but clearly shows BJU’s intent to control every aspect of student life. Students are made aware the the school can search any personal item, at any time, for any reason or no reason. There is no section in the BJU handbook on the legal rights of students.
The Music section in this BJU handbook
is the first in recent memory to not specifically mention “CCM” specifically as forbidden continues the school’s recent trend of not mentioning CCM specifically. Although the music that fits under that term is still certainly not allowed at the school, it’s no coincidence that the school chose to omit it. The general tone of the Music section also continues its recent gradual shift toward a more diplomatic tone, including using the word “subjective”, and referencing a “range of music acceptability”. How this change filters down into student life is less clear. Headphones are still forbidden, because of “accountability”.
(Pg. 63) In a mostly new section, BJU spells out its position on sexuality, both for student conduct and in general. The statement appears to be in response to recent changes in United States law concerning same-sex marriage; the note that it was written by the BJU Board of Trustees highlights its importance.