- Posted September 30, 2012 by
Greenville, South Carolina
This iReport is part of an assignment:
What’s wrong with America’s school system?
Nine forcible sex offenses occurred at Bob Jones University in 2011
Bob Jones University reports nine cases of forcible sex offenses in 2011.
Bob Jones University, the infamous independent fundamental Baptist university located in Greenville, SC has made news headlines once again. Once known as the “World’s Most Unusual University” for its extremely conservative standards and practices, today BJU might be called the “World’s Most Unusual University” for another reason: sexual abuse.
Bob Jones University is required by law to file a Clery Report with the federal government every year. The Clery Report is required of all colleges and universities that receive federal aid and this report is used to keep and disclose statistics about crimes on and near college campuses.
In the 2011 school year Bob Jones University reported 9 cases of forcible sex offenses. According to the Clery website, forcible sex offenses are “any sexual act directed against another person, forcibly and/or against that person's will; or not forcibly or against the person's will where the victim is incapable of giving consent.”
WSPA in Spartanburg, SC reported that Bob Jones University “had the highest number of forcible sex offenses reported -- 9 in 2011 alone, significantly higher than any other institution in the area.” WSPA went on to say, “Clemson, which has almost 20,000 students, reported 3 forcible sex offenses in 2011 and has had 7 in the past three years.” Bob Jones University had approximately 2,500 students enrolled for the 2011 school year.
What has become an even more outrageous aspect of this story is the response from Bob Jones University when asked about the Clery Report. Carol Keirstead, the chief spokeswoman for Bob Jones University released the following statement concerning the attacker to WSPA. “The student, who [Carol Keirstead] identifies as a male, was suspended. She said the university's student policies will allow him to reapply for admission next semester, which begins in January 2013.
BJU is widely known in the Greenville community and around the country for their strict rules. It has come as a shock and an outrage that Bob Jones University would even consider allowing an abuser back into the school.
This story comes at a very interesting time concerning Bob Jones University. In the past year there have been countless national stories about the abuse and subsequent cover-ups that occur at Bob Jones University, all of which have been denied by BJU.
Last semester, senior Christopher Peterman was expelled in part for holding the first ever student protest at BJU*. This protest, called Do Right BJU, focused on Pastor Chuck Phelps, who at that time was a Board of Trustees member. Do Right BJU called for the resignation of Phelps, an apology from Bob Jones, and the establishment of appropriate counselors for victims of abuse at the school.
It was widely known because of a report by 20/20 investigators that Pastor Phelps had covered up the rape of a 15 year old girl in his congregation back in New Hampshire and that he had allowed the rapist to stay in his congregation for years. Thousands of BJU alumni and students signed an online petition demanding the resignation of Chuck Phelps. During the entire debate Bob Jones University stood firmly behind Chuck Phelps and defended him.
On April 24, 2012, Bob Jones University expelled Christopher Peterman, nine days before his college graduation. This punishment, when compared to the punishment of the abuser who attacked 9 women, is the same.
Bob Jones University has always marketed itself as a safe campus and BJU can no longer market themselves that way.
Parents and students who might be considering Bob Jones University as an option for future education, I would urge you to read the Clery Report, read the articles about abuse, and read the stories of former students at BJU.
Current students who might feel threatened or vulnerable, please let someone in an outside authority know if you ever experience any form of abuse.
*Editor's note: Christopher Peterman was expelled as a result of several issues including, but not limited to, the following: watching the tv show Glee off campus, send a Tweet before a chapel service, intimidation and insubordination. All were a result of the BJU administration's attempt to expel Christopher.
Read his story at http://crushable.com/other-stuff/chris-peterman-bob-jones-university-glee-198/