Bob Jones University announced today that GRACE will continue and complete its investigation into the school’s history and policies regarding sexual abuse.
Nearly three weeks after abruptly terminating its contract with GRACE, BJU now says the two organizations are “united in our commitment to a thorough, transparent and objective review.”
The announcement comes as a seeming victory for all sides of this controversy, as supporters and detractors of the University alike decried BJU’s termination of GRACE and called, nearly unanimously, for their reinstatement.
not, as of yet, commented on the announcement.
BJU published a Q&A about the recent events here, which among other things plainly answers the accusations of its critics:
Of note here are a number of subtle attempts by BJU to spin this announcement, and re-define the last month of news as nothing controversial:
-BJU acknowledges on its Timeline that the GRACE contract was terminated, but still tries to get away with using the word “suspended” several times in the Q&A.
-BJU attempts to frame the GRACE investigation as a “review”–as primarily an administrative action meant to update BJU’s policies and ensure the school meets legal requirements. However, the main focus of the GRACE review has been on victims who have spoken out about the school’s neglect and systemic abuse.
-BJU seems confused about whether or not any victims do, indeed, exist. Under the Q&A, the question is posed:
“Did GRACE discover any instances of abuse that were not properly reported to authorities?”
To which the answer is given:
To date, BJU has received no report that GRACE has discovered any BJU or BJA abuse reporting obligations.
Then, in another section of the Q&A:
It is for the sake of these individuals that BJU went to great lengths to resolve our differences with GRACE. We are deeply grieved by the pain and disappointment these individuals have experienced.
BJU appears stuck between refusing to admit that any real grievances exist against it (see the “underserved” verbiage) and its obligation to admit that the GRACE investigation is happening for a reason.
Despite the PR spin from the University, this announcement is good news for all sides. Victims and critics of the school will finally see their stories aired in public, and by a third party that BJU won’t be able to influence. Supporters and defenders of the school can at least know that BJU is no longer attempting to hide or stamp out GRACE’s findings. All that’s left now, as before, is to wait.