Al-Jazeera Notes BJU’s Hypocrisy in Audio We Leaked

You can read all our coverage of the GRACE report here.

You can read the full report of BJU’s failure to properly address abuse here, and via our copy/paste-ready shortlink: tiny.cc/GRACEREPORT.

This afternoon, Al-Jazeera America posted a new article specifically noting discrepancies between the GRACE report and Steve Pettit’s response to it in the audio we leaked earlier this week:

BJU President Steve Pettit is appointing a committee to review the report over the next 90 days and he publicly apologized to those who “felt they did not receive from us genuine love, compassion, understanding, and support after suffering sexual abuse or assault.” But in a chapel service Monday, leaked to the website BJU News, he told students that the report wasn’t an accurate representation of the school today.

The piece also has quotes from several recent graduates angered by Pettit’s comments, which were intended only for BJU students and faculty but have provoked strong reactions from onlookers after a source sent them to us for publishing:

“Honestly, I’m just really saddened. It comes across like they haven’t even read the report, because the report very clearly states that this has happened recently.”

“I am a decade removed, from a chronological-time point, but from a pain point of view, that counseling still affects me today,” she said. “It was the first counseling I received. It was the only counseling I received for over seven years. For over seven years, all I thought was that I’d done something that caused my rape.”

Al-Jazeera also spoke to Boz Tchividjian, founder of GRACE and head of its BJU investigation, asking him about Pettit’s claim in our leaked audio that BJU is “very safe”:

In response to Pettit’s remarks, Boz Tchividjian, the founder of GRACE, said: “Our report speaks for itself relating to those issues.”

BJU’s PR team had no response when  Al-Jazeera reached out for comment on the story, continuing their habit of ignoring developments on the GRACE story:

 

 

 

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23 thoughts on “Al-Jazeera Notes BJU’s Hypocrisy in Audio We Leaked

    1. A. James

      “unbiased” “hypocrisy” “duplicity” “spin factory”…

      …better not say too much lest half of a comment or link disappear, or views be misrepresented, and a comment section closed limiting dialogue on “all the news they won’t print”…

  1. JLfromNC

    If the GRACE recommendations have not yet been implemented and the recommendations correlate with what GRACE identifies as safe then Pettit’s assertion that BJU is safer today does not correlate with the report. His comments indicate a defensive posture. While GRACE commended steps the university had taken to improve response to abuse, the report seems to emphasize a culture of ignorance propagated by III, Berg, and Wood. What makes BJU unsafe stems from psychological denial that their approach lacked in love and from current leadership hesitant to affirm this. Ironically the leadership appears to succomb to the fear of man. These two systemic problems–Denial and Fear of man–may explain what impairs their ability to empathize with abuse victims. In effect, they’re intimidated by abuse victims but need to appear competent. It’s not so much that BJU intends to be insensitive–they just don’t make a habit of subjecting themselves to the kind of loving scrutiny that would expose them to these deficits.

  2. A. James

    “If the GRACE recommendations have not yet been implemented and the recommendations correlate with what GRACE identifies as safe then Pettit’s assertion that BJU is safer today does not correlate with the report. His comments indicate a defensive posture.”

    We are in agreement over this per my comment under “new leaked audio pettit contradicts grace” thread. I am still shaking my head over the unnecessary more private chapel and statements to students during that chapel. Given all the good ways they have handled the GRACE release so far, I am trying to hope it was an unfortunate misspeak, and hoping to see obvious action (per recommendations) that can easily and should take place by the beginning of second semester to prove they are in earnest as to any future action.

    “While GRACE commended steps the university had taken to improve response to abuse, the report seems to emphasize a culture of ignorance propagated by III, Berg, and Wood. What makes BJU unsafe stems from psychological denial that their approach lacked in love and from current leadership hesitant to affirm this.”

    These men are still on the website and uplifted in leadership roles. Until they are not, Pettit cannot claim “safer”. It goes against some key points of GRACE, yes. For whatever unclear much speculated reason they decided to go with GRACE, fire, then rehire, they DID. They will only look worse by being hesitant to affirm what they asked GRACE’s help with to investigate.

    “Ironically the leadership appears to succomb to the fear of man. These two systemic problems–Denial and Fear of man–may explain what impairs their ability to empathize with abuse victims. In effect, they’re intimidated by abuse victims but need to appear competent. It’s not so much that BJU intends to be insensitive–they just don’t make a habit of subjecting themselves to the kind of loving scrutiny that would expose them to these deficits.”

    Interesting thoughts I’m trying to work through. They already subjected to the scrutiny of GRACE. Now it’s time for them to take action…who are they fearing? The Jones family? The Board holds far more power than the Jones family at this point, and if they care about enrollment, then that is the last thing they need to fear. Some of the faculty or old guard that it is rumored are offended at GRACE recommendations? Who could they be fearing? I would say the majority of critics, supporters and employees and constituent churches want them to heed GRACE and want to see action asap.
    I thought they may have hired GRACE for concern of critics…so they need to take action for the same reason or that will worsen.
    I thought they may have hired GRACE to improve their public image…so they need to take action for the same reason or that will worsen.
    I thought they might have hired GRACE to truly make things right from the past (though for the reasons above and this one and all things considered, I think they hired them thinking they had NOT really done anything wrong…just to dispel critics and improve image…then as GRACE moved along they were surprised at the direction…fired GRACE to delay…then rehired out of pressure or true desire, I don’t know…see thoughts on “Flying South” at the Bridges Burning website)…but if they originally did want to make things right from the past that they thought were there…then they most certainly need to take action. Makes no sense on any level to be fearing man at THIS point except fear of showing us they don’t mean business. All eyes are on them. The majority is FOR them doing right by the GRACE report.

    Maybe he said what he did to compare the past BJU to the present BJU…and in that sense BJU has improved even according to GRACE…but I wish he had not even gone there even if he was fearing that students might not return second semester. As you said, a defense mode it indeed seemed. If they had done even ONE of the recommendations of GRACE, he could have been more justified in even my mind, and I could be a better optimist…but I’ve seen no action apart from words (mostly good except for this “safer” business) out of BJU. I’ve only seen Faith taking down Berg’s pages from their church website.

    Anyway, Pettit said “90 days” to review the recommendations…that puts us into March. And lookie there, just past the faculty verbal agreement deadline to return the next year at the beginning of March!!! How convenient. Looks suspicious for the second year in a row to delay delay to avoid some kind of fallout. I don’t know. I think the fallout will be worse at this point with any more delays. I think we should have seen already on some action of the more obvious points to really trust them on better future action. I know they have to be careful due to legal ramifications, etc. but it would have been the easiest thing to take pages off the website, to stop selling materials on the bookstore website, to remove Berg’s course asap even as they review. If these haven’t happened by the beginning of second semester, I will be most restless indeed.

    1. A. James

      And some of the disaffected sites
      are what happens
      when agendas
      are elevated
      above relationships.

  3. tiquatue

    Taking into account Pettit’s calling GRACE’s findings a “mote” in BJU’s eye, the comments to the student body are consistent with their “move along, nothing to see here” attitude.

  4. Kevin Marshall, CPA

    As a 87 BJU grad, I am sickened by these reports and ashamed to be a BJU grad. Even before these reports, I have never contributed to or in any way associated myself with BJU since graduation. I am thankful that I serve a loving God and that I am no longer under the spell of fundamentalism. I enjoy a growing relationship with Abba, my Papa God, and am no longer brain washed and in a cult like environment. These reports so disgust me, that I would like to return my diploma to BJU to honor, recognize and pay tribute to the victims of the sexual abuse while in the supposed care at BJU. Who will join me?

  5. A. James

    (Cute!) Let me try it…since my last comment was deleted…GOOD GRIEF

    BJU hasn’t died
    The Seekers cried
    Feed them any one outside the echo chamber
    To fry in pride.

    “Support the open and civil exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.”
    http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp

  6. A. James

    Ah, gee willie. I was hoping to earn a “frequent commenter” acknowledgment again at the end of the year. But “Uh, oh, It’s Magic!” My comments seem to be neither standing nor sitting on the premises here. Not very promising, eh?

  7. R.W.Whisman

    HOLDING COURT

    Should Christians take
    Christians to court
    And with the world’s
    Mobs consort

    Oh, they’ll have fun
    While standing tall
    Until reading the
    Writings of Paul

    And then realizing
    Who is Boss
    Deciding to obey
    Even at a loss

    1. A. James

      Holding Court

      Should Christians take
      Christians to Her Court
      And with the fundy
      tactics consort…

      Oh, they’ll have fun
      While standing tall
      But contradict Her
      and they will fall.

      And then choosing
      To be their own Boss
      Decide to disobey
      At no great loss.

      (I feel like Gollum trying to figure out Bilbo’s riddles…)

      Cool day all around thanks to Sally, Leah, and Boz. Don’t miss it. All for a “fair process for the victims” 🙂

  8. Joe Boyer

    I am a retired criminal investigator with US Treasury Department and a born again christian who was rasied in baptist churches. I agree with all the findings and recomendations of the Grace Report, but you have to give President Pettit the 90 days to respond. After they respond then fire your verbal missiles if the response is inadequate and BJU business as usual.. As far as what Pettit said in chapel, come on guys and gals a boat captain in a storm is not going to yell the ship is sinking and the life boats have holes in them, The GRACE report said that BJU has cleaned up their act recently and commended them on it. President Petitt was only reassuring the students that they were safe. No Corporate President in business or a Church Leader is going to yell fire during a crisis. So use commonsense. Don’t become like Dr. BERG and JONES III who used no commonsense..

  9. A. James

    But I am surprised by the sugar-coated…
    After all of the efforts for GRACE here, we aren’t even allowed to post a link to public statements by the Boz? Please check his recent Twitter public statements to stay informed.
    “Well said and duly noted.”

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