An Announcement About the Future of BJU News

After nearly four years reporting on and, occasionally, breaking news about my alma mater, I’ve decided that next month I’ll no longer be updating this site or writing about Bob Jones University here or elsewhere online.

My decision to become an activist against the policies and actions of BJU was made gradually, and the decision to wind down those efforts was no different. Although the motivations to make an end (both personal and “professional”) are numerous, I will name just two: my family and I are at a place of new beginnings, and I do feel that some things, though clearly less than everything, have been accomplished at BJU for the betterment of its faculty, staff and students both current and future.

These accomplishments have been due in no small part to a passionate, courageous core of alumni and friends who I’ve been privileged to work alongside these past few years. We’ve spent countless hours planning, writing and working together for change. And I do believe change has occurred, slowly and, as you’d expect, without a word of credit from our worthy adversary. But BJU has had to publicly acknowledge its failures and seen them writ large on the world’s most prominent headlines. For those who’ve so often been steamrolled by the weight of the school’s purposeful forgetfulness, this was in itself a victory.

When I began this site, I never thought it would one day be used as a source in The New York Times or Al-Jazeera, or that such a repository of leaked information could exist. With the help of brave students and others at BJU who were too sickened by what they saw and heard to stay quiet, we rattled the comfortable Administration Building halls. I won’t soon forget.

This site will remain. I’ll be turning off the ability to make new comments since I won’t be moderating them. I may also change the look and feel of the site so it’s somewhat easier to use for research purposes.

Thanks to all who contributed, in whatever way.

Clinton Verley

BJU Class of 2010

Feel free to email me.




31 thoughts on “An Announcement About the Future of BJU News

  1. R.W.Whisman


    The hardest thing
    In life to learn
    Is which bridge to cross
    And which to burn

    If we resolve
    To be brave
    And refuse to
    Be a slave

    We burn the road
    Of a familiar span
    And gain access to
    A brand new land

    R.W. Whisman

    1. A. James


      The important thing
      In life to know
      Is which bridge to cross
      And let it glow

      If we resolve
      To be grateful
      And refuse to
      Be fateful

      Learn from the road
      Of a familiar span
      Gain strength from the past
      To brand new land

      A. James

  2. Edwin Hollatz, '52

    Some efforts do bear fruit and this website is one of them. Good to discover that the present BJU administration is sensitive to what various alumni and former students are saying. Here’s hoping that there will be a significant official response to the GRACE Report next moth. That will prove that BJU is serious about achieving a significant degree of repentance and renewal.

    1. A. James

      “Some efforts do bear fruit and this website is one of them.”
      Agreed, sir.

      I stand by my words on the “What We Do” page supporting the overall efforts and goals here in spite of recent frustrations. These present years were a most critical time from the University’s past to its future. “I won’t soon forget” either. A memorable opportunity.

      If ever the social media gets a “word of credit from our worthy adversary”, I hope it will be news you WILL come back and print. Until then, here’s to your new beginnings.

    1. A. James

      Sounds like the country song, “I’ll catch you later got a lead foot down on my accelerator and the rearview mirror torn off, I ain’t never lookin’ back. And that’s a fact.” Yeah, I can relate with some situations in my life, truly.

      BTW, I wasn’t disagreeing with you necessarily with my plagiarized poem. It all depends on the situation. My point was: there’s usually SOME good in the bad or some lessons learned to not forget. As Confucius (didn’t) say, “He who has no rear-view mirror misses the reflections of the beauties that are behind him and unwisely risks bumping into the same mistakes again.”

      Seems like we’re the only ones talking. Hopefully we’re providing some…fair and balanced opinions between the two of us until comments are closed once and for all 😀

      I hope the archives don’t disappear HERE!

  3. R.W.Whisman

    I am very comfortable being an amatuer poet. It’s a way for me to cope with the stresses (many self-inflicted 😊) and distresses of life. I wrote Bridge Afire February 2, 2007. You have heard it said, “He that burns bridges had better be a good swimmer.” But I say to you, There is no future in the past. As General Patton said, “Do not protect your flanks, Drive straight through the enemy. (A. James… You are NOT the enemy.😊) Remember Lots wife. He that looks back us not fit for the kingdom.

    Nevertheless, as a well-earned point to your side of the dialogue, I will concede that, “Failure is an opportunity to begin anew with insight.” You are an individual of keen insight. I know my failures and who caused them- ME. It comes down to a debate between FACTS and TRUTH. Sometimes, the truth is something I don’t want to admit and the facts are things I don’t want to face.

    1. A. James

      bridges afire or aglow…
      truth or error….facts or misinformation and lies…finish or drop…
      and the wisdom to know the difference…the patience while we figure it out…the humility and graciousness while others do for themselves (wishing the same from them during our own search)…yes…I understand you well.

      Making sure I quoted “The wisdom to know the difference” accurately led me to finding for the first time the prayer in its full since you’ve not offered another one for me to plagiarize 🙂

      God, give me grace to accept with serenity
      the things that cannot be changed,
      Courage to change the things
      which should be changed,
      and the Wisdom to distinguish
      the one from the other.

      Living one day at a time,
      Enjoying one moment at a time,
      Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
      Taking, as Jesus did,
      This sinful world as it is,
      Not as I would have it,
      Trusting that You will make all things right,
      If I surrender to Your will,
      So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
      And supremely happy with You forever in the next.


      I’m not as all syrupy sweet, positive and idealistic as all that though for truly I did understand your Bridges Afire and your other similar thoughts. That is actually more of my philosophy and “style”. Maybe with Clinton’s announcement I felt relief on one hand for him, hope in another unmentioned sense, thoughts of putting BJU behind us and all the other truth seeking that has gone along with it :)…but along with that (since I’m not quite to the decisiveness he is), depicted in my poetic rebuttal, there have been lessons learned, better memories made along the way, good laughs… His announcement was a surprise on BOTH levels for me. Having me in much thought and watchfulness in what others do, what I should do.

      And this is crucial, as you said, “I know my failures and who caused them- ME”, but we know it is very hard to easily dismiss factors surrounding our failures. And I can’t judge others (though I sure try to figure it out–for myself, too) when they wrestle with their failures if they mixed in with another’s (or place’s) failures.

      But I think we’ve aptly portrayed the struggle. Now for each one to make their choice…”the wisdom to know the difference” for themselves for not just a “reasonably happy” in this life, but a “supremely happy” even now. Or if that is too “idealistic” (yes) to hope for…at least decisions made based on truth that will lead to freedom. “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” And using that truth wisely. Sigh, Whisman, I don’t usually do poetry or Scripture in my “debates” or meanderings for truth, but…I think we’ve turned BJU News into a devotional page 🙂 Poor Clinton! But we don’t want to bring up bridges he’s burned, do we? I can honestly respect that. And it is nice to not talk of all THAT. So! Back to using truth with wisdom:

      Proverbs 3:13-15
      How blessed is the man who finds wisdom And the man who gains understanding. For the profit is better than the profit of silver And the gain better than fine gold. It is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire compares.

      1. Edwin Hollatz, '52

        With all of the talk about bridge building I want to submit the poem that appears in Bob Jones, Jr’s. book INSPIRATIONAL AND DEVOTIONAL VERSE. This meaningful poem was used by R.K. Johnson in his biography of Bob Jones, Sr. which was entitled BUILDER OF BRIDGES:

        There are a number of sentiments in this poem which apply to the current situation at BJU. This poem has meant much to me through the years in my 45 years of teaching speech and coaching debate at Wheaton College.

        “Building the Bridge for Him” by W.A. Dromgoole

        An old man, traveling a lone highway,
        Came at evening cold and gray,
        To a chasm deep and wide.

        The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
        For the sullen stream held no fears for him, But he turned when he reached the other side,
        And builded (built) a bridge to span the tide.

        “Old Man,” cried a fellow pilgrim near,
        “You are wasting your strength with building here;
        Your journey will end with the ending day,
        And you never again will pass this way.

        “You have crossed the chasm deep and wide.
        Why build you a bridge at eventide?”
        And the builder raised his old gray head;
        “Good friend, on the path I have come” he said,
        “There followeth after me today
        A youth whose feet will pass this way.

        “This stream, which has been as naught to me,
        To that fair-haired boy may a pitfall be;
        He, too, must cross in the twilight dim–
        Good friend, I am building this bridge for him.”

  4. Edwin Hollatz, '52

    Be sure to see the March issue of CHRISTIANITY TODAY. In it you will find an item that tells of Pres. Pettit apologizing publicly for the way BJNU has treated its scores of abuse victims. This is a FIRST in the history of the school.

  5. R.W.Whisman

    What Senior did (and I respect and honor that) fit the zeitgeist of his day. He was a good swimner, yet made provision for those who weren’t. When TV was black and white, so were morals in our nation. His day was the heyday of radio- not TV. (oops! SWIMMER😊) Yet, I think the metaphor STILL has validity.
    . Nobody has to be troubled by what I say here. It’s not going to damage anybody. Like Will Rogers said, “If I say something, you can take it or leave it, it’s just a joke.But if Congress tells a joke- it’s a LAW! 😊

  6. A. James

    I believe we NOW have a balanced view of bridges with the new poem offered for consideration. (BJU News…a poetry corner. Poor Clinton!) Anyway, yes, I remember having memorized that. How could I have been so selfish? Perhaps because I have not so much an influence to consider it from that perspective, but still. Indeed, there are selfless reasons for building bridges or maintaining or improving them…better, stronger bridges for those that come behind us.

  7. A. James

    “Unfortunately, for abuse victims, BJU became a toll bridge causing them to pay a price: physically, emotionally, spiritally, etc.”

    I hope some will look beyond the usual sources of the interviewees opinions. Other sites that are now available. They are not all pointing an accusing finger at BJU as a whole. They do not wish to destroy the bridge they crossed at BJU. They do not despise the place or their entire BJU experience or consider themselves abused in all ways because of one way. So many stories.

    It really boils down to what one thinks of BJU. If it is despised to the core for its identity, there is no point in people NOT burning the BJU bridge. Bridge afire so to speak. What a waste of time trying to change a place to its very depths. That would be like me trying to change a school of a differing faith. No. Freedom of religion. And otherwise a huge waste of time on my part. it’s also a huge waste of my time if I have a larger percentage of disapproval than approval. Might as well indeed move on along…bridge aglow perhaps.

    However, those that would still support BJU’s identity. That don’t despise it down to the very detail. That can look upon it fondly, favorably (as detestable as that is to others), those are the ones with a vested interested in maintaining, improving the bridge.

    Where does it end when we, from our own bad experience or displeasure, feel like we must make it a righteous cause to utterly destroy a place. If everyone did that, not just towards BJU, what a crazy world. Where does it end. Just because one wants to burn a bridge behind them does not give them the right to go destroy another person’s bridge, so to speak.

    it would be good to look beyond BJU to the abuse issue as a whole.
    Many victims that don’t despise BJU as a whole because of their experience would say to begin effectual change internally…to be involved as the GRACE process continues…with the coming months and years… To put it, as Hollatz might say, “That will prove that BJU is serious about achieving a significant degree of repentance and renewal.”

    Yes, we all have been through our own sorts of “toll bridges” (BJU isn’t the only source of hardship) but we only re-victimize ourselves when we don’t indeed, as we’ve been bantering, figure out where to go on NEXT and how…with truth and wisdom. But it indeed time to MOVE ON as quickly as possible from the grief.

    When some are doing nothing more than nit-picking every move that BJU makes, it is time to burn that BJU bridge. Isn’t there more to life? No one is going to listen to that any more any way after all the change they DO see at BJU. If people are too grieved by their experience there to believe change could ever happen to their satisfaction, then time to find a new place of happiness. If people were involved these months cautiously watching, being involved as they could…they are probably still waiting to decide…having input…maintaining that bridge…
    And some are positive, hopeful, ready to make it a better BJU. To realize the bridge wasn’t built or maintained best as it could have been. Hindsight making them wiser. Those where BJU was a toll bridge to pain (but not the despising of the complete journey) looking to eliminate that toll.

    My point is…and yes, you got me fired up :)…is that I understand your initial point AGAIN.
    All things for balance…and this ongoing victimization mentality or vengeance from it…does not represent all those involved in the GRACE process. I pray for all those involved to make the right choice for themselves. But dragging BJU to its past again and again and not understanding that everyone’s story is different..that some may be willing and wanting to give BJU a new future…to realize, even if we can’t, that others aren’t hell bent on burning BJU and nit-picking to the last rule in the rulebook because of it, to live and let live…to realize that the GRACE report has no legal binding and in the end we are all going to disagree on this that and the other as to what BJU chooses to do…we can only profitably speak up as we are led if we truly want positive change out of personal interest to support the place…or to find a new life for ourselves and allow others the same respect…to realize that buildings, bridges are made of imperfect stones…as all of our lives are…to make the very best of it as we can…and again, respect others in their choice…oh, I’m a little riled 🙂

    So…you know me…I had to say something…

    (Sorry, Clinton! Not my fault. Whose was it? Oh, Hollatz! And since he has gravitas, I’m sure you won’t mind! 🙂

  8. R.W. Whisman

    A. James, Man, you are something else. I give you a nineteen word trickle and you give me a several hundred word DELUGE. 🙂 Now you’ve made me hungry. I believe I’ll eat a TOLLHOUSE cookie. 🙂

    1. A. James

      Well, I wanted to come back and clarify that I wasn’t MAD in that deluge. Yes, you unleashed it. Inspired it. Whatever. And I had a thought…what if we think another person’s bridge is a bad one to cross or should be burned…I guess we should take time to warn, right, but then kindly move on? You started all this! I feel like we’re on a ticking time bomb before Clinton shuts down all comments…if we all get cut off “mid-stream” conversation…maybe we’ll meet “on the other side” 🙂 with TOLLHOUSE cookies.

      And you can disagree with me. What I say isn’t law. And I half expect I won’t agree completely with it all by tomorrow anyway!

      1. R.W.Whisman

        Yes, that Bridge Afire got things started. I’m trying to decide if it’s a misdemeanor or a felony. Caught, caught; busted, busted.😊

  9. bill not fundy

    “Where does it end when we, from our own bad experience or displeasure, feel like we must make it a righteous cause to utterly destroy a place. If everyone did that, not just towards BJU, what a crazy world. Where does it end. Just because one wants to burn a bridge behind them does not give them the right to go destroy another person’s bridge, so to speak.”

    A. James,
    Those words spoke volumes to me. I too often want to burn the bridges behind me. But as one of you pointed out you need to be a good swimmer…I am not. Great post.


    1. A. James

      You won’t believe this. I’ve had to consider my own words even today. Didn’t I sound so confident a mere six hours ago. And I came back to also say that I know it’s not so easy. Truly, in less than a week with this conversation, I’ve gone from considering a particular bridge in my life from every angle. So, let’s just say your words “spoke volumes to me”, too.

      Quotes I see:
      “The hardest thing in life I see is which to cross and which to burn.”
      “Sometimes you have to turn around, give a little smile, throw a little match, and burn that bridge.”
      “Sometimes burning bridges isn’t a bad thing…it keeps you from going back to a place you should have never been.”
      “There’s no need to burn the bridge. You just need to stop looking back.”
      “It is up to us if we are a prisoner to our past or a guardian of our future. It is our bridge to cross.”
      ! “Sometimes you’ve got to burn the bridge to keep the crazies from following you.” ! HAHAHAHA
      “Sometimes you must cross a bridge and other times you need to burn it. But always keep building one and never lose your faith in life.”

      Clinton’s Philosophy Gathering…

  10. Edwin Hollatz, '52

    For the ultimate in poems on bridges see the following item on Hart Crane’s magnum open “The Bridge.” It is amazing that a number of sections or references could be applied to BJU.

    See Google “The full text of Hart Crane’s poem The Bridge” for the full text.

    The Bridge comprises 15 lyric poems of varying length and scope. In style, it mixes near-Pindaric declamatory metre, free verse, sprung metre, Elizabethan diction and demotic language at various points between alternating stanzas and often in the same stanzas. In terms of its acoustical coherence, it requires its reader, novelly, to follow both end-paused and non end-paused enjambments in a style Crane intended to be redolent of the flow of the Jazz or Classical music he tended to listen to when he wrote. Though the poem follows a thematic progress, it freely juggles various points in time. -The University of Illinois’ Modern American Poetry site analyses the symbolic meaning of “the bridge” as a central image throughout the book:
    When Crane positions himself under the shadows of the bridge, he is, in one sense, simply the poet of the romantic tradition, the observer who stands aside the better to see; but he is, in another sense, the gay male cruising in an area notorious for its casual sex. Even the bridge itself, the Brooklyn Bridge that is the central object of the poem, was strongly identified in Crane’s own mind with [Crane’s lover] Emil Opffer, to whom Voyages was dedicated. The appearance of the bridge secretly encrypts a highly personal memory and a specific presence in the text. Crane’s “epic of America” gets underway as a personal quest, as a poem divided against itself, in devotion to an urban setting that encourages social diversity, with secret inscriptions that retain their meanings to which only a privileged few are accessible.
    “Proem: To Brooklyn Bridge” is the short lyrical ode to the Brooklyn Bridge and New York City which opens the sequence and serves as an introduction (and New York City’s urban landscape remains a dominant presence throughout the book). After beginning with this ode, “Ave Maria” begins the first longer sequence labeled Roman numeral I which describes Columbus’ accidental voyage to the Americas. The title of the piece is based upon the fact that Columbus attributed his crew’s survival across the Atlantic Ocean to “the intercession of the Virgin Mary.” The second major section of the poem, “Powhatan’s Daughter,” is divided into five parts, and one well-known part, entitled “The River,” follows a group of vagabonds, in the 20th century, who are traveling west through America via train. In “The River,” Crane incorporates advertisements and references Minstrel shows. He claimed in a letter that “the rhythm [in this section] is jazz.”[5] The section also includes the story of Pocahontas (who was “Powhatan’s Daughter”) and a section on the fictional character Rip Van Winkle.
    Other major sections of the poem include “Cape Hateras” (the longest individual section of the poem), “Quaker Hill,” “The Tunnel,” and “Atlantis,” the rapturous final section that returns the poem’s focus back to the Brooklyn Bridge, and which was actually the first part of the overall poem finished despite its reservation for the end.

    1. R.W.Whisman

      Thanks, Hollatz for introducing me to the word: DEMOTIC. I’d slways used the term: VERNACULAR before. When I learn a new word, I like to use it in writing. Here goes.
      . The military superior wrote her report in demotic language, as follows: The haughty basilisk cornered the soldier, knowing not he had a flamethrower, realizing too late she was about to be barbecued.

  11. R.W.Whisman

    With the unconditional love of a mother for her child, I, without apology, humbly (😊) assert that Bridge Afire is the pinnacle of the poet’s pen. We all agree, don’t we, that BREVITY EQUALS POWER. 😊

    1. A. James

      NOT necessarily. Brevity does NOT necessarily equal power. Some issues need to be rhapsodized, or clarified, or debated…ESPECIALLY in matters of something so important as burning a bridge! Or even recommending a bridge! But since brevity is not my forte, I will prove I can do it. Though there isn’t much power here.

      I wonder if Clinton will delete our conversation with all this news he would prefer not to print.
      Thank you, Hollatz, for raising our demotic conversation to an academic yet artistic level.

      Wait. I just remembered where there was no bridge. FORGET that brevity always equals power.
      FORGET IT. We must include this for those that pass this way.

      from Pilgrim’s Progress
      Now I further saw, that betwixt them and the gate was a river; but there was no bridge to go over, and the river was very deep. At the sight, therefore, of this river the pilgrims were much stunned; but the men that went with them said, You must go through, or you cannot come at the gate.

      The pilgrims then began to inquire if there was no other way to the gate. To which they answered, Yes; but there hath not any, save two, to wit, Enoch and Elijah, been permitted to tread that path since the foundation of the world, nor shall until the last trumpet shall sound. The pilgrims then, especially Christian, began to despond in their mind, and looked this way and that, but no way could be found by them by which they might escape the river. Then they asked the men if the waters were all of a depth. They said, No; yet they could not help them in that case; for, said they, you shall find it deeper or shallower as you believe in the King of the place.

      Then they addressed themselves to the water, and entering, Christian began to sink, and crying out to his good friend Hopeful, he said, I sink in deep waters; the billows go over my head; all his waves go over me. Selah.

      Then said the other, Be of good cheer, my brother: I feel the bottom, and it is good. Then said Christian, Ah! my friend, the sorrows of death have compassed me about, I shall not see the land that flows with milk and honey. And with that a great darkness and horror fell upon Christian, so that he could not see before him. Also here he in a great measure lost his senses, so that he could neither remember nor orderly talk of any of those sweet refreshments that he had met with in the way of his pilgrimage. But all the words that he spoke still tended to discover that he had horror of mind, and heart-fears that he should die in that river, and never obtain entrance in at the gate. Here also, as they that stood by perceived, he was much in the troublesome thoughts of the sins that he had committed, both since and before he began to be a pilgrim. It was also observed that he was troubled with apparitions of hobgoblins and evil spirits; for ever and anon he would intimate so much by words.

      Hopeful therefore here had much ado to keep his brother’s head above water; yea, sometimes he would be quite gone down, and then, ere a while, he would rise up again half dead. Hopeful did also endeavor to comfort him, saying, Brother, I see the gate, and men standing by to receive us; but Christian would answer, It is you, it is you they wait for; for you have been hopeful ever since I knew you. And so have you, said he to Christian. Ah, brother, (said he,) surely if I was right he would now arise to help me; but for my sins he hath brought me into the snare, and hath left me. Then said Hopeful, My brother, you have quite forgot the text where it is said of the wicked, “There are no bands in their death, but their strength is firm; they are not troubled as other men, neither are they plagued like other men.” Psa. 73:4,5. These troubles and distresses that you go through in these waters, are no sign that God hath forsaken you; but are sent to try you, whether you will call to mind that which heretofore you have received of his goodness, and live upon him in your distresses.

      Then I saw in my dream, that Christian was in a muse a while. To whom also Hopeful added these words, Be of good cheer, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole. And with that Christian brake out with a loud voice, Oh, I see him again; and he tells me, “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee.” Isa. 43:2. Then they both took courage, and the enemy was after that as still as a stone, until they were gone over. Christian, therefore, presently found ground to stand upon, and so it followed that the rest of the river was but shallow. Thus they got over.

      1. R.W. Whisman

        Alas, men like rivers can be shallow. Shallow Hal was such a man. Albeit, I do not accuse Jack Black of being the character that he, as an actor, portrayed. Speaking of actors, Jeff Bridges is one of my favorite actors. I wonder if he is any good at playing contract bridge?
        I have yet one more lamentation. Alas,CURSIVE is fading away; America is going to HELVETICA in a hand-basket!
        P.S. Allow me to bolster stout hearts with one further thought: Those nefarious critics of BJU, knowing not their hinder parts from their kinder parts, who would fire cannons of demonization against this citadel of literal and symbolic truth, will find those cannonballs bouncing off like bb’s off an anvil. Furthermore, as they reload these dastardly Red Riders, mothers and teachers will harmonize, singing, “It’ll shoot your eye out! It’ll shoot your eye out!”
        P.S.#2 Fah ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra

        1. A. James

          For once, you have WON on the number of words between us. I’m laughing too hard to type…yes, it all started with Helvitica…

          P.S. Your P.S. is longer than your initial comment. Is that legal?

          P. P. S. “Those nefarious critics of BJU, knowing not their hinder parts from their kinder parts”
          I hope you have followed my clues along the way (before they were deleted, destroyed, cut in half, blocked, etc.) to a site that quite enjoys that very topic. But I can’t quite make you and your views out yet, so no offense intended if it’s not to your liking or laugh at all.

          But I’ve said nothing about bridges…I feel…like I’m off topic…
          “Alas, men like rivers can be shallow.”
          Those shallow rivers of character indeed are some of the most important to build a bridge over…and not burn…so others may more readily move beyond those most troublesome waters.

          And now? Oh, HELVETICA, I think the words in my comment might be just about equal now or more. I shall let you move on to your FUTURA 🙂

  12. R.W.Whisman

    To: A. James
    I now have my deer-hunter cap on and I wielding my magnifying glass, searching for the website of which you speak, seeking to bridge the gap from here to yon.
    P.S. Buzzed haircuts
    . are
    . Drunk haircuts.

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