BJU Terminates GRACE Investigation: “We Respectfully Request That All Work by GRACE be Halted” [UPDATED]

In a stunning reversal, GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) today announced that BJU has asked the organization to halt its independent investigation of the school’s sexual abuse policies and history, effective immediately. No reason was given.

Alumni and Greenville residents voiced their disappointment with BJU on Facebook.

Alumni and Greenville residents voiced their disappointment with BJU on Facebook.

BJU contacted GRACE in 2011, after the Chuck Phelps scandal and ensuing outrage from alumni made national news. The school was eager, by its own admission, to prevent further damage to its reputation by heading off more scandals. GRACE agreed to commence an independent investigation into the history of the school’s treatment of all manner of abuse, including sexual, emotional and physical. Hundreds of surveys were taken from current and former students, faculty and staff, none of which will now, presumably, see the light of day.

It’s not clear what the result of this termination will be, although clearly BJU’s focus is on ending its relationship with GRACE and preventing any further information from being gathered or disseminated. We’ve uploaded the announcement to our Scribd page, and you can also read it below:

Update: BJU has published a statement here.

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17 thoughts on “BJU Terminates GRACE Investigation: “We Respectfully Request That All Work by GRACE be Halted” [UPDATED]

    1. A James

      “Over the last several months, we grew concerned about how GRACE was pursuing our objectives, and on Jan. 27, 2014, BJU terminated its contract with GRACE.”
      If they expect us to believe that, the burden of proof is on them to be transparent as to their specific concerns.

      http://www.foxcarolina.com/story/24658107/bob-jones-ends-agreement-abuse-ombudsman
      http://www.wyff4.com/news/local-news/greenville-news/-bob-jones-university-fires-firm-investigating-sexual-abuse-response/-/9654794/24339208/-/9hug84/-/index.html

  1. baldjonesgrad

    It would appear that BJU didn’t like the results of the ‘independent’ outside investigation into possible sex abuse on the campus. BJU has never liked having outsiders evaluate them–or they’d have engaged in a legitimate accreditation process decades ago. I’d love to see the preliminary report. I would bet that it would show a studied effort to quash anything negative about good old Bob Jones University.

    If anyone from BJU faculty is reading this, please know that this makes me sick. I didn’t have much hope in the GRACE investigation, but you must have really feared what it might bring out into the light of day. I’m a graduate of BJU from 1980. I worked hard for 4 years to get a worthless, unaccredited degree from a school that I’m genuinely ashamed of. I don’t even list BJU graduation on my resume. I had to go to another school to get an accredited degree. If you’re on faculty of BJU and are reading this, I hope that when you get to the end of your life, as you lie dying, you realize that you worked to provide students with a worthless degree and that you were part of a conspiracy to hide sexual abuse–because you stayed there after the GRACE investigation was purposefully eliminated by your bosses. Think about that, as you breathe your last dying breath.

  2. Truthbetold

    So what I see on this site and Facebook is a lot of people who obviously hate the university and who purposely distance themselves from the university… and now they want to post how terrible things are when they probably are the least likely to know about any of the true facts in the case.

    Another Interesting thing is that a letter marked “confidential” in bold at the top is slammed onto social media sites within days that it was received and my guess is before anyone from GRACE even tried to discuss it with BJU.

    Funny… I went to the same school as those now choosing to slam it. I got the same kinds of degrees and thank the Lord, now have a very well paying job in upper management as do both of my siblings who also went to BJU… But let’s avoid any responsibility and keep blaming the school…sadly for you there are just as many if not more who haven’t seemed to have any problems at all landing successful careers.

    1. bjunews Post author

      1) Criticism (or in the case of this site, merely publishing news) does not equal “hate” or “slamming”. Evaluate what is published here on its own merits, not on emotional terms.
      2) Re-read GRACE’s statement, they claim to have been pleading with BJU for weeks trying to continue the investigation.
      3) Your success with your degree does not invalidate anyone else’s experience with problems involving BJU’s substandard accreditation and reputation.

    2. baldjonesgrad

      My bet is that you chose to live in the southeast, maybe even SC. In the pacific NW, the degree is unrecognizable. I am in management as well, but it’s in spite of BJU, not because of BJU.

  3. A James

    Then let the Truthbetold. There has been much more conversation on the internet lately than just those who “obviously hate the university”. Per those conversations, from alumni that have faithfully supported the university financially and verbally for 20-60 years, even those agreed that the top bad decision BJU could make at this time (next to choosing an incompetent new president) would be to cancel GRACE. It is a climactic moment displaying their lack of wisdom and discernment that damages their flailing credibility worse than anything else could at this time.

    The facts are that BJU went over the top to make amends and commit to this process. Whether they lacked wisdom and discernment by committing to this in the first place or by choosing an agency that doesn’t have a long track record, who knows. Whether they were too confident about their innocence, who knows. Whether they think it is more important to save some reputations than to have all the details made public, who knows. Whether this was primarily Jones’ or Jackson’s choice to terminate, who knows. But we do know that here they were just one month away from being able to make reparations as needed and put this behind them–only to create a worse scenario.

    New Tribes followed through with the GRACE investigation to the end. After the public report, New Tribes published their own report stating their agreements, course of actions, as well as their disagreements with the GRACE report. This is aboveboard. If BJU’s concerns are of an ethical nature (rather than petty/reputation salvaging motives), it is time for them to start talking.

    I am interested in the facts surrounding the confidential letter. It is not easily accessible on the GRACE site as far as I can tell. I am sure the lawyers at GRACE will respond to this particular issue. For whatever reason, God has allowed it to be seen. We can see the facts that in that letter Jones/Jackson only made vague references to changing leadership as reasons to terminate. Contrast that with the BJU PR spin of several months of concerns with GRACE. Contrast that with faculty/staff not being alerted that this was going to happen. It is sadly seemingly indicative of another one of their pragmatic “in your face” decisions these last few years. Those in leadership need to be held accountable and not “avoid any responsibility”.

    Although I would be in agreement with you from experience concerning the degrees/subsequent jobs, hopefully you can see how this lack of strategical forethought only serves to bring more unnecessary accusations and doubts from those of all alumni stripes.

    Perhaps you would be interested in the Sharper Iron discussion:
    http://sharperiron.org/filings/020614/29288#comments
    Sean Fericks’ comment probably says it better than I have:
    “It appears that the original intent of hiring G.R.A.C.E. was to have an independent Christian organization aggressively lay bare all past sins, repent appropriately, and then sail on with better safeguards in place. Perhaps G.R.A.C.E. has done something unethical. Perhaps the termination is merely temporary while BJU and G.R.A.C.E. renegotiate terms. But the circumstantial evidence does not point that direction. BJU’s decision is highly suspect. In terminating G.R.A.C.E., they have given rational friends cause for concern.

    I am willing to suspend my judgment for a bit while the parties work things out, but this is no small matter. They need to fix this, and fix it quickly, either by charging G.R.A.C.E. with substantial violation of ethics or violation of contract. If they fail to do so, BJU will appear to have all the integrity of Bill Clinton staring into the TV camera and proclaiming his innocence.”

    Yes, let the Truthbetold.

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  6. Truthbetold

    Where to even begin…
    “Must live in the south” – Nope don’t even live close to the south, actually live in the heart of America’s economic collapse detroit, michigan… Siblings live out west…

    And isn’t the issue here about GRACE and sexual victims? So why bring up your degree instead of addressing the subject matter on this blog? BJU is trying to gain accreditation for future students…

    I guess I’m Just confused at how many so called Christians seem to be hoping and pushing for the collapse of anything Christian left in our country (churches, Christian colleges, etc.) though I’m not an evangelical or even close to one, my hope is not for any harm or collapse for any of them. The world wants us to fail…wants the gospel to fail… so a person who is wanting Christian things to fail… Makes me wonder which side you are really on…

  7. Kimberly

    I don’t want the university to fail. I don’t want churches to fail. But if by the way they act and the things they teach, they don’t show the Gospel and God’s love clearly, they should fail. And as a recent student who left, and has been interviewed by GRACE, they did not show God’s love. They showed God’s judgement. More than anything else. They showed that they care more about their reputation to the world than a human soul. They are not clearly showing God’s love, especially to those broken ones. Because of that, they should fail. They are not showing Christ’s love, but God’s judgement and that in no way lines up with the Gospel.

    1. A James

      I was about to compose something similar in response to Truthbetold. Thanks for taking care of that, Kimberly.

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