Bob Jones University Culture
The following was sent in by user Kitty. It is pasted as received and please take note about stories posted here. To remind you opinions expressed are only that of the author who wrote them and no one else of this site. Thanks:
I realize this blog is about accreditation issues, however, I feel it is important to bring up student life and culture of BJU as well. When I attended BJU as a dorm student in the 1980’s, Bob Jones III was the president and Bob Jr. was chancellor. After I graduated, I had cause to re-evaluate the influence BJU had on me and my fellow grads. I traced the driving influence of BJU back to a chapel pronouncement by Bob Jones Sr. in which he told the university family, "Want to know where a man stands with God? You have only to ask him this one question: 'What does he think of this school?'" I found out the hard way, that Bob Jones University practices duplicity, double-dealing with the truth, and betrayal of their students, grads, and supporters has been a recurring theme of the school. The most egregious example of this sort of duplicity involved the interracial dating ban. When I attended BJU, mixed dating was forbidden. People were expelled for violating the rule. Teachers whose church granted membership to a mixed couple were fired. Mixed-race union grads were shunned by BJU. The rule was defended by BJU, supported by Scripture by the Joneses and their faculty in written pamphlets, and proclaimed to the Greenville News as an uncompromising "Scriptural" principle by Bob III when the US Supreme Court revoked BJU's tax-exempt status back in 1980. During the 2000 election cycle, Bob III went on “Larry King Live” to announce the end of the ban. When asked by Larry King about the basis of the rule, Bob Jones III lied by saying BJU had never attempted to support the ban by Scripture; he said they never talked about the rule even though every student read the rule in the Student Handbook every year and signed that they would abide by the ban. BJU's Chancellor, Bob Jones III is not your run-of-the-mill liar. No. He's proven through the years to be a special brand of liar...a religious liar who runs a little religious school by his own rules and by his own brand of duplicity, hypocrisy, and pragmatic expediency.
Something that has not been commented on much, but, in my opinion should be, is the several distinctly unbiblical practices of the University. This is not a rant about being morally constrained or made to think in a box. This is a serious review for those who hold the Bible as the only rule of faith and practice and want to know how this plays out at Bob Jones University. Bob Jones does not practice what it preaches. The “show window” is not what it appears.
The first thing that I would like to mention is the way Bob Jones University administration usurps the family and church. The first illustration of this is stated at the beginning of their handbook. (Or was, when I was there in the 1980’s). The exact words escape me, but the gist was that the school discourages students from spending any more time than necessary away from the campus, because of the Christian utopian environment. The context was not just about going off the campus to have dinner, but leaving the campus to return home for any kind of extended visit during the school year or on weekends. Somehow, BJU had determined that staying on their campus was the best thing and visiting one’s parents or church was somehow less desirable and liable to damage the student.
Another illustration of this attitude can be found in the requirements of the time for a woman student to go off the campus with their own parents or pastor at the time. The rigmarole of getting permission and signing out illustrates their contempt intended or otherwise for signing out with a woman students father, brother or own pastor. It was told to 18-21 year old young adult college students that the school had such rules because BJU is accountable for the safety of the students. BJU required women students to get permission: as if a father needed permission to take out the child the Lord gave to him. During my time this rule was followed very strictly. Women students were not allowed to be taken off campus by their own fathers without a chaperone. That rule was finally dropped because one of the girls on my prayer group came from California and her mother had passed away. Because of the great distance her father had to come to see her, and the fact that she had no mother to chaperone. He razed quite a raucous up in the Dean of Women/Dean of Students area because he would not settle for the university to send a faculty/staff chaperone for him to be permitted to take his adult daughter, whose school bill he paid off campus. This prompted the school to drop it. The question is: why would the school have such a rule in the first place? By their own teaching, what can be the justification for saying that the head of a family may not see one of his children without the school's permission and chaperoning? They teach, children are a gift from the Lord, and God puts the solitary in families. Who is Bob Jones University to question God's placement?
Bob Jones also claims the right to command the behavior of students when they are home during Christmas breaks and during the summer. Several students have been expelled for attending a music concert or one of the unending “uncheck able” things that are against the rules while living at BJU. This insanity extended to the school insisting that it should be consulted for permission before any student is permitted to go on a summer mission trips not affiliated with the school. This was part of the separation stand of BJU. But where does a Para-Church organization such as a college find Biblical warrant for telling any church whether or not its members may be involved in ministry? Most people I knew there very rightly ignored these "rules" when home under family and church authority during holidays.
This problem of usurpation of the family's place can also been seen in the high-handed manner the school uses in dictating many aspects of family for its staff and faculty, and for the wives of married students who do not live on campus.
Here is part 2.