Tchividjian summarized the 300-page report’s findings, based on interviews with 50 self-identified victims of sexual abuse and more than 60 other individuals: The investigation findings demonstrate that Bob Jones University responded poorly to many students who disclosed being sexually victimized. As a result of the school’s flawed responses, many of these students were deeply hurt and experienced further trauma. The report outlines these painful experiences, as well as identifies and analyzes certain systemic institutional behaviors that contributed to the pain suffered by abused victims. The report concludes with 26 recommendations that “will assist BJU in continuing the journey of repentance that demonstrates Godward sorrow, invites God to transform the institution, and brings healing to the hurting.”
A two-year investigation into how Bob Jones University (BJU) responded to dozens of victims of sexual abuse over four decades recommends that the school “impose personnel action”—ranging from termination to remedial education or other “corrective action”—upon its current chancellor and curb the counseling activities of a former dean.
Preempting today’s release of the lengthy report, which also offers moderate praise for the school’s recent policy changes on abuse disclosures, BJU’s new president pledged yesterday to learn from victims who found the school’s counseling to be “inadequate, insensitive and counter-productive.”
“On behalf of Bob Jones University, I would like to sincerely and humbly apologize to those who felt they did not receive from us genuine love, compassion, understanding, and support after suffering sexual abuse or assault,” said president Steve Pettit, addressing students and faculty. “We did not live up to their expectations. We failed to uphold and honor our own core values. We are deeply saddened to hear that we added to their pain and suffering.”
“Though much in this report will understandably cause readers to grieve, GRACE is encouraged by the willingness of Bob Jones University to take the unprecedented step to voluntarily request this independent investigation and to make these difficult findings public,” stated executive director Boz Tchividjian. “Such institutional transparency is too rare and will hopefully set a positive precedent for Christendom and the watching world.”