Tag Archives: SACS

Faculty Meeting Roundup: 2 BJU Dorms to be Demolished, China, SACS, Collegian

BJU held a faculty/staff meeting yesterday, and an attendee emailed us notifying of a few pertinent details.

-BJU will close and demolish two of its residence halls this summer, Siddons (Women’s) and Reveal (Men’s). These residence halls currently house graduate students and assistants, but the school’s steadily dropping enrollment has made these older buildings obsolete. Here’s an image showing a revised campus map:

-A major emphasis of the meeting was the administration’s continued interest in building a presence for the school in China. Recruitment is seen as a major concern for BJU, and the school’s leaders clearly see an opportunity for growth and fundraising in Asia.

Update, 4:00PM 2/21/14: We have received information from another source that conflicts with some of the details we published below. At this time, all we know for sure about GRACE’s meeting with BJU this week is that that two parties met, but no conclusion was reached. Neither Stephen Jones nor Gary Weier were present at this week’s meeting, just as was originally reported. GRACE and BJU plan to continue meeting next week.

-In fact, we were told by the meeting’s attendee that Stephen Jones and Gary Weier departed for China yesterday, despite the fact that GRACE and BJU were scheduled to meet at that time. We also learned that although BJU representatives did travel to Lynchburg, VA yesterday to meet with GRACE leaders, the talks broke down after GRACE learned that no top-ranking BJU official was present.

-SACS was also discussed, although there was little good news in the University’s pursuit of regional accreditation. Our informant said that finances was presented as the main obstacle to BJU’s plans in this area, with a SACS requirement that any applicant show $1 million in savings as the administration’s biggest concern. (Also: check out this image we created in 2013 showing key events in BJU’s history of misinforming the public about SACS.)

In other news, BJU’s student newspaper, The Collegian, published an article today pushing back against critics of the school’s handling of the GRACE investigation. The lengthy article frames the GRACE firing as “an issue of prayer” rather than one to discuss or debate publicly, and describes disagreement with BJU as “bitterness.” You can read that article here.

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BJU Not Seeking NLNAC or CCNE Nursing Accreditation

According to a comment on its Facebook page today, BJU is officially not seeking or interested in accreditation through NLNAC or CCNE for its Nursing program:

The current BJU Nursing page says the program is “approved by the South Carolina State Board of Nursing” but contains no other information on accreditation.

Stephen Jones Delivers Confusing, Inaccurate Summary of SACS Progress at Home Prayer Meeting

Click here to see our BJU/SACS timeline.

Continuing a pattern of misdirection, Stephen Jones delivered a rambling, at times factually incorrect speech on BJU’s attempt to gain SACS accreditation at an informal home prayer meeting yesterday evening. These meetings are being held in Greenville-area homes in an attempt to strengthen the University’s image among alumni–and also, apparently, to spread misinformation about BJU’s hopes for regional accreditation.

Among other things, Jones made two easily disputed claims:

1. That BJU’s accreditation with SACS, if and when it is attained, will be retroactive for current students, and

2. That SACS will make their on-campus assessment visit in 2014.

The first statement is plainly incorrect. According to a SACS .pdf, accreditation is retroactive at most to January 1 of the year accreditation is granted. No current or past students of BJU will see any benefits of BJU’s regional accreditation, even if it is ever granted.

The second statement, concerning an official SACS visit in 2014, is shown to be false by consulting SACS’ projected timeline for accreditation approval. According to this .pdf, SACS expects 12-18 months from the time an application has been received from a school in order to allow an official review visit to take place, and another 12 months or so after the visit to complete the decision. Here’s the quote:

The application review process (beginning with receipt of the completed application and ending with authorization of the Candidacy Committee) normally can be accomplished within a period of twelve to eighteen months. The maximum period from the time the initial application is received by the Commission on Colleges to the time that the Candidacy Committee is authorized (either by the President of the Commission or the Committee on Compliance and Reports) should not exceed 18 months. Should the institution not receive authorization for a Candidacy Committee  visit within 18 months after submitting its initial application materials, its application may be withdrawn at the discretion of the Commission. Should the institution wish to reapply at a future time, it will be required to submit a new application along with the appropriate application fee. After authorization, the visit of the Candidacy Committee and the subsequent decision of the Committee on Compliance and Reports may take as long as twelve months.

To summarize, Stephen Jones claims that SACS will make its official visit in 2014, although BJU has not even submitted its application yet. SACS itself maintains that it takes up to 18 months from the time the application is submitted to get such a visit, and up to another year after that for any decision to be made.

This incident is typical of how BJU has handled publicity regarding its attempt to secure SACS accreditation: while no verifiable progress has been made by the school toward even submitting its application, it has nonetheless used its intentions with SACS as an advertising tool, at times unethically. Although it seems certain that BJU is making internal changes in order to qualify for SACS, there have been no such announcements, and no application filed; as such, the school is still years away from hearing SACS’ decision, and there is little reason other than the school’s word to believe that that decision will be favorable for the school.

Below is a timeline showing some important events in BJU’s pursuit of SACS, and their deception of prospective students and alumni along the way.

Posts referenced in the timeline:

BJU Board Approves Pursuit of SACS

BJU Violates SACS Rule by Advertising Using SACS Intentions, Is Forced to Remove Ad

SACS Publishes List of Applicants, BJU Not Included

BJU Board Member Says BJU “Has Applied With SACS”, is Forced To Retract

It’s also possible that Jones’ remarks yesterday evening violate the same SACS regulation which BJU publicly violated last year, the regulation forbidding possible SACS candidates from discussing or advertising their status. Here’s that rule, written again, clear as can be:

“No statement should be made about possible future accreditation status or qualification not yet conferred by the accrediting body. Statements like the following are not permissible: “(Name of institution) has applied for candidacy with the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association;”

BJU Board Member Mike Harding Claims BJU Has Applied for SACS, Furthers Misinformation Campaign

In a comment posted today on fundamentalist website Sharper Iron, BJU grad, board member and pastor Mike Harding claimed that BJU has applied for regional accreditation with SACS:

Harding

However, as another commenter correctly noted, BJU has not in fact applied for accreditation with SACS. As the Collegian itself admitted, BJU only began the multi-year process of preparing its SACS application at the end of last year. In other words, even an optimistic prediction from BJU itself does not allow for its SACS application to be submitted until 2014. The school would then have to endure the approval process itself, pushing the hypothetical date of SACS approval back to perhaps 2017 or 2018, even if BJU meets the requirements. Accreditation is not retroactive.

AccreditationBJU

Harding’s deceptive comment is the latest in a series of attempts by BJU to keep prospective students wondering about the accreditation process.

In February of 2012, BJU News uncovered proof that BJU was using its intention to apply with SACS as leverage to draw in students, an unethical advertisement scheme which SACS explicitly forbids. When we contacted Gary Weier about the violation, he quickly deflected, but had the advertisement removed.

You can read about our encounter with Weier and BJU’s duplicity here.

You can see the research that’s been done to show BJU has not applied to SACS yet, and information on accreditation timelines here.

It seems obvious that Harding was either intentionally dissembling on BJU’s intent and on the state of their accreditation process, or that he is himself so confused by the school’s doubletalk that he thinks they truly have applied.

Let us know if you’ve been told information about BJU’s accreditation status that violates SACS policies or that seems inconsistent.

2001 BJU Accreditation Pamphlet Surfaces, Shows School’s Apparent About-Face on the Issue

 

A pamphlet entitled “Taking The Higher Ground: The Accreditation Issue From The Bible Point Of View”, written by Bob Jones III 2001, has surfaced online–and its inflammatory anti-accreditation rhetoric emphasizes how completely Jones and BJU have reversed course on the issue, though without explaining that reversal.

Jones’s premise in the pamphlet is that “uniting” with an accreditation body is tantamount to apostasy for a Christian University.  The arguments used here are quite similar to those employed by Bob Jones Jr. in his 1960 defense of the school’s segregationist ethic (read that document here), particularly the paranoia regarding “the world” and its influence.

The accrediting associations will not approve our educational process if it does not include the worship of their gods. All education is brainwashing. We wash with the pure water of God’s Word, and they wash with the polluted waters of the New Age. [pg. 6]

Jones states flatly in “Taking the Higher Ground” that lacking accreditation will “not be easy” for BJU grads, but also claims that God will help those grads and honor BJU’s choice to remain “separated” by refusing to seek accreditation. That explanation seems inadequate in the face of the numerous and well-documented stories of BJU grads who experience endless frustration because of BJU’s proud unaccredited status.

As long as there is a Bob Jones University, God helping us, we will not make covenant with them, nor worship their gods. [pg. 6]

This brochure, which was apparently displayed publicly at BJU and mailed to pastors and alumni to reassure them that BJU would not “compromise” on accreditation, raises several questions. First, has there been some kind of enormous change in the so-called “agenda” of accreditation bodies that now allows BJU to in good conscience consider applying to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools*? Or was Jones simply trying, in this pamphlet, to justify a position that has now become untenable for a University trying to compete against more value-focused alternatives? It seems impossible to reconcile the extreme, caustic condemnation of accreditation in “Taking the Higher Ground” with BJU’s current overly-eager attempt to sell prospective students on its intention to pursue what Jones in just a decade ago equated with idolatry.

Regional accreditation is a sellout to the gods of the secular educational world. How can we make a covenant with them? [pg.5]

Hopefully the school will eventually explain how, in less than ten years, regional accreditation has gone from an indication of a school’s spiritual demise to being BJU’s favorite marketing tactic. If they do, you’ll hear about it here first.

(*note: BJU has NOT applied to that organization and, even if it did so today, would be years away from achieving accredited status even if the process went smoothly)

 

UPDATE: BJU Still No Closer To Regional Accreditation

Despite months of preperation and attempts to convince potential students of it being a sure thing, BJU still has not even begun the multi-year process of attaining regional accreditation with SACS.

The accreditation body published its June 2012 Actions Taken document last week detailing schools whose accreditation status have changed recently. BJU is nowhere to be found on the .pdf, indicating that perhaps the school’s plans to submit an application have stalled, or at the very least that the non-retroactive accreditation upgrade is still several years away.

 

 

BJU Still Not a SACS Applicant, Prospective Students Confused

Bob Jones University is not regionally accredited, nor has it submitted an application to SACS to pursue that status–a process which in itself could take years.

BJU previously advertised its plans to pursue SACS accreditation on its website, but was forced to remove the statement after it was shown to be in violation of SACS regulations.

Research done on the SACS website reveals that BJU has not even submitted an application to SACS, and BrainTrack indicates that  “most schools become accredited within three to five years after their candidacy has been awarded.”

Prospective students, as a rule, aren’t aware of the importance of regional accreditation or BJU’s status as nationally accredited. Many prospective students are allowed to believe that BJU is simply “accredited”, without any information given on the advantages of a regionally accredited degree. Wikipedia lists some of these advantages:

A 2005 study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that, in making decisions on credit transfer, about 84 percent of U.S. higher education institutions considered whether the sending institution is accredited, and many had policies stating that they would accept credits only from regionally accredited institutions.[15] About 63 percent of institutions told the GAO that they would accept credit from any regionally accredited institution, but only 14 percent similarly accepted credits from nationally accredited schools.[15] One reason given for regional institutions’ reluctance to accept credits from nationally accredited institutions is that national accreditors have less stringent standards for criteria such as faculty qualifications and library resources.[15] Students who are planning to transfer credits from a nationally accredited school to a regionally accredited school are advised to ensure that the regionally accredited school will accept the credits before they enroll.[11][12][14]