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Bob Jones Allows Fired Firm to Finish Abuse Investigation After All

(UPDATED) BJU apologizes for 'added anxiety'; GRACE says results will be delayed but 'God is undoubtedly at work.'
Bob Jones Allows Fired Firm to Finish Abuse Investigation After Alljapedi/Flickr
Bob Jones University

Bob Jones University has resolved its differences with GRACE and will allow the Christian abuse investigator to complete an independent review of BJU's past response to abuse incidents and how the school can improve.

CT reported how BJU fired GRACE late last month as the review neared completion. Last week, the two groups met to "discuss any issues that might stand in the way of GRACE's completion of thorough, transparent and objective review," BJU announced today.

"GRACE satisfactorily addressed the University's concerns and Bob Jones University is confident the review can be completed in a timely and professional manner," said BJU. "To be clear, GRACE and BJU are united in their commitment to a review that is thorough, transparent and objective."

GRACE announced the news on its Facebook page, noting the review will be "under the terms of the original agreement. No changes." Its official news release later noted, "GRACE remains prayerful that this difficult but necessary process may be able to bring a new dawn of hope and healing for hurting souls, along with positive institutional changes. God is undoubtedly at work."

BJU expressed its appreciation for former students who "demonstrated great courage to share their stories in an effort to help us improve," and apologized "for the added anxiety caused by the temporary suspension of the review."

For background, read CT's previous coverage on how the firing took GRACE, which has been fired before, "by complete surprise," while BJU was '"disappointed a resolution could not be reached before our differences were made public."

The full announcements by BJU and GRACE are below.

Greenville, S.C. (February 25, 2014) – Bob Jones University today announced that it has reached agreement with GRACE to complete the independent review of the University's response to sexual and other abuse. The independent review was initiated by the University in response to a series of national news stories about abuse at other institutions. The purpose of the review was to assess past responses by the University in support of victims and identify policies and procedures that could be enhanced.

Bob Jones University suspended the review on January 27, 2014. Bob Jones University met with GRACE on February 18-19, 2014, to discuss any issues that might stand in the way of GRACE's completion of thorough, transparent and objective review. GRACE satisfactorily addressed the University's concerns and Bob Jones University is confident the review can be completed in a timely and professional manner. To be clear, GRACE and BJU are united in their commitment to a review that is thorough, transparent and objective. As the process moves forward, regular updates will be provided.

BJU appreciates our former students and others who participated in the review with GRACE. They demonstrated great courage to share their stories in an effort to help us improve. We appreciate how important this review is to everyone who cares about the University and we apologize for the added anxiety caused by the temporary suspension of the review.

-----

As previously announced, on January 27, 2014, GRACE received a 'Notice of Termination' from Bob Jones University. Last week the leadership of both parties met in Lynchburg to discuss mutual concerns and to dialogue about GRACE completing the independent investigation that began early last year. During these meetings, both sides communicated openly and directly with the purpose of working towards a resolution. Late last week, GRACE informed BJU that reinstating the original agreement with no modifications was the only way to insure that the independence and integrity of this process is not compromised. We requested that BJU reinstate the original agreement so that GRACE could immediately move forward and complete this critical process. GRACE was greatly encouraged this morning to be notified by BJU of its decision to accept our offer to reinstate the original agreement with no changes. We are also encouraged that by this decision BJU acknowledges and accepts the critical importance of an authentically independent investigation. As communicated throughout this process, GRACE is very committed to listening to the concerns and ideas expressed by BJU and other witnesses with the understanding that as an independent entity GRACE has the responsibility to make the final determinations. The events of the past month will significantly postpone the completion of this process. During the coming days, the GRACE team will meet to discuss a revised timeline for completion of this investigation and publication of the final report. We will make sure to post an update when we are in a better position to provide a time of completion. GRACE is extremely grateful to the many individuals who have expressed encouragement and support during these past few weeks. Thank you. As stated in our very first announcement, GRACE remains prayerful that this difficult but necessary process may be able to bring a new dawn of hope and healing for hurting souls, along with positive institutional changes. God is undoubtedly at work.

[Photo courtesy of japedi - Flickr]

Posted:February 25, 2014 at 11:13AM
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