They vowed to ask forgiveness of any students they may have “underserved.” In truth, the origins of the investigation were closer to home.
In 2011, an abuse scandal from years before had become national news with a report.
Tina Anderson, a 15-year-old who lived in New Hampshire, was raped and impregnated in 1997 by one of her church’s deacons, then in his late thirties, while she was a babysitter for his family.
When Anderson and her mother told their pastor, Bob Jones graduate Chuck Phelps, what had happened, Phelps had Anderson stand before the congregation while he read a confession of her pregnancy.
said would never amount to more than a “poor country Baptist preacher somewhere out in the sticks.” Though the two later became friends, they split again in 1957 over Graham’s revival crusades—in particular, a crusade at Madison Square Garden that Jones, who’d warned Graham to avoid cities and politicians, condemned as too ecumenical and accommodating to modern society.
On its compound in Greenville, South Carolina, once surrounded in part by barbed wire, faculty children were, until recently, born at the on-campus hospital, raised in the K-12 Bob Jones Academy, educated at the university, then sent out into the world armed with a list of approved churches (mostly those that send the school students or money and that are often pastored by Bob Jones “preacher boys” like Phelps).
Until the early 2000s, faculty were paid minuscule wages—hovering around ,000 a year for a full-time professor—in exchange for subsidized living and the commitment that the school would care for them into old age (a retirement plan called “The Promise”).
Leaked minutes from a recent faculty meeting noted that Christian colleges are closing across the U. but that Bob Jones might find salvation in China and South Korea, where “the opportunity for Christian education” is still “unbelievable.” The school has begun selling off assets: the radio station, the music publisher, the hospital.
“The Promise” to support retiring faculty has been rescinded.