It has been a little over a week since I and the other witnesses who participated in the sexual abuse investigation of Bob Jones University received this shocking e-mail from the investigative team at Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment, the not-for-profit organization Bob Jones University contracted with over one year ago to independently investigate the numerous allegations of sexual abuse, sexual assault and inappropriate/inadequate responses to disclosures of such abuse and/or assault.
We are writing with saddened hearts to let you know that Bob Jones University has made the decision to terminate the GRACE Investigation. We will be posting the attached formal announcement on the GRACE website in just a few moments. We believed it to be important to inform you and others of this news in a more personal way in addition to a website posting. We realize that for many this news is likely to be both a shock and severe disappointment, as it continues to be for us. Please know that we are in communication with BJU in hopes of being able to complete this independent process. We will make sure to notify you if the situation changes.
We are so very grateful for your trust and courage in sharing your experience with the team. Please know that regardless of the eventual outcome, your voice has been heard.
The GRACE Team
Shortly thereafter, the GRACE Team went public with its announcement of the termination.
As a survivor myself who has spoken with and in behalf of numerous survivors over several years and as someone for whom the past year has held an unbelievable and unexpected amount of personal anguish related to my participation in the investigation, I had to temper my public response to this situation in order to cope with my private pain.
For so many of us survivors, this latest development felt like a cruel and deliberate trick by BJU administrators to offer hope for a chance to have our voices heard in the investigation and for the University to respond by taking G.R.A.C.E.’s recommendations to make the campus safer for everyone. We have documented here on BJUnity.org that Bob Jones University is not safe for LGBT+ students. Based on this recent action and the numerous stories survivors have shared, BJU is also unsafe for survivors of sexual abuse and sexual assault. This must change.
So, in response to the news that BJU and G.R.A.C.E. will be meeting this week, I want to unequivocally state — echoing our single Facebook Post (linked below) about this situation and in support of Do Right BJU’s petition – that there is only one appropriate solution to this situation where survivors are concerned: G.R.A.C.E. must finish this investigation and publish the complete, unedited investigation report. There is no acceptable alternative outcome.
In behalf of those we support who personally risked much to participate in the GRACE investigation and in solidarity with ALL survivors, BJUnity calls on Bob Jones University to repent this egregious wrongdoing and to immediately reinstate GRACE to complete its work as initially contracted in November 2012.
This announcement today is not so much a travesty and obvious breach of contract against the good people of GRACE as it is an affront to the goodwill of numerous alumni who participated in this investigation in good faith that our voices would be heard and that BJU was operating likewise in good faith with the intention to make amends for past wrongs and create a safer environment at Bob Jones University.