GREENVILLE, S.C. (December 10, 2014) – Bob Jones University President Steve Pettit announced to the BJU faculty, staff and students this morning that GRACE has completed its report on how the University responded in the past to student reports of sexual abuse or assault.
In November 2012, BJU initiated the GRACE investigation to make certain university policies and procedures for handling reports of sexual abuse and assault comply with every aspect of the law and ensure a loving, scripturally based response to those involved. Additionally, BJU leadership wished to have an opportunity to communicate with and be reconciled with any former students or other individuals who believe they received inadequate help when they reported to a BJU representative that they had been abused at some point in their past.
In making the announcement, Pettit said, “We are all awakening to the depth and breadth of this societal problem. Colleges and universities across the country are reassessing how they handle cases of sexual abuse and assault. We want to be part of that solution. To do that, we must first take the mote out of our own eye and address our own failings. The GRACE report helps in that effort by helping us identify areas of concern.”
While the report focuses on the experiences of approximately 20 out of over 90,000 former students, it identified a number of instances where BJU’s response was inadequate and students were not satisfied with the help they received. It also identified a number of specific areas requiring improvement.
During his presentation earlier today, President Pettit apologized to the abuse and assault victims who said they did not receive adequate help and expressed his appreciation for their courage in coming forward and sharing their experiences with GRACE. He stated, “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 …To them I would say—we have carefully listened to your voice. We take your testimony in this report to our hearts. We intend to thoroughly review every aspect and concern outlined in the investigation and respond appropriately.”
President Pettit will immediately appoint a committee which will review the report findings and recommendations over the next 90 days.
“For those actions to be truly meaningful, we must make a long-term commitment that creates genuine, sustainable change,” said Pettit. “This will take a lot of hard work in the coming months, in fact, years. This is a process of change that must and will happen by the grace of God. This is our solemn pledge.”
GRACE, based in Lynchburg, Virginia, will release its final report Thurs., Dec. 11.