BJU faulted for response to GRACE report

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Bert Perry's picture

My take is that if the church ought not shoot its wounded, then the grounds for firing are (a) willful misconduct and (b) demonstrated inability to perform the duties of the job.  That requires (c) a top to bottom review of their counseling materials.

Now I think we're zeroing in on something with the (thanks again Jay, Jim) discussion of what PTSD ought to mean in light of Scripture, and what guilt the immodest woman has, or does not have.  The question is, of course, whether BJU is going to take a close look.

And I'm 100% with Larry in arguing that the best friend BJU has at this point may be their critics.  This is not fun, it is not nice, but if something is wrong, the person who says all is OK is NOT your friend, period.  The trick is separating out the people who have ideas from those who simply hate your guts.  I'd like to believe I'm in the former group, but fair enough if some suspect otherwise.  :^)

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jay's picture

And I'm 100% with Larry in arguing that the best friend BJU has at this point may be their critics.  This is not fun, it is not nice, but if something is wrong, the person who says all is OK is NOT your friend, period.  The trick is separating out the people who have ideas from those who simply hate your guts.  I'd like to believe I'm in the former group, but fair enough if some suspect otherwise.  :^)

Look, if those of us who have gone to (and through) BJU don't speak up about this issue, what motivation do they really have to change? As the song goes, "Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate".  We don't need more haters.  BJU doesn't need more haters.

BJU wanted those of us who graduated to stand up and say something if they took a stand that was wrong.  The way they handled these kinds of counseling cases was wrong.  End of story.  They need to fix it, and that doesn't mean they have to listen to everything that DRBJU and the lunatic "BJU is the Devil's Spawn" FB groups say.  But they ought to be willing and able (and even eager!) to listen to those of us who are trying to point out that, shockingly enough, GRACE had an actual point.  So do the people who wrote this open letter. Wasn't that why BJU did this investigation in the first place?

Again, it all goes back to whether or not BJU is really going to listen to what the alumni, GRACE, and the victims have to say.  They are moving in the right direction, and that's good.  But they have a long way to go yet, and I think that trying to reconcile with the people who wrote that open letter would be good, and is a commendable course. 

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Joel Shaffer's picture

Psychology seeks to treat rather than cure; the victim remains the victim forever. 

Chip, 

Because of the work I do, I've interacted with plenty of therapists, some that are even non-Christians, that would laugh at such a strawman definition of psychology.   It seems as if you are guilty of mischaracterizing psychotherapy the same way that you feel nouthetic counselors are mischaracterized.   

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I haven't been following the thread, but had a few mins to drop in and look at a few of the latest posts.

Larry N has a good pt here: http://sharperiron.org/comment/77347#comment-77347

Seems like the more emotionally loaded a topic is, the more prone human beings are to overgeneralize. This group or that individual is ____, psychology is just____, biblical counseing is ____... and the blanks are either strongly negative or strongly positive statements.

What we often don't realize is that we're using categorical language. Without using the word "all," we are assuming it. If we actually spell out what we're saying, it's a bit more apparent that we're overgeneralizing:

... all the leadership at BJU are...
... all psychologists only ....
... all BJU's approach to counseling has ever done is...
On it goes.

These are almost never accurate statements. Goes back to the point I was trying to make a while back when I wrote about the GRACE report. Problems have to be accurately located before they can be effectively solved (usually--sometimes you can head in a gen. direction and do the locating on the fly). The broad brush just never accomplishes a whole lot of value.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Don Johnson's picture

Jay wrote:

BJU wanted those of us who graduated to stand up and say something if they took a stand that was wrong.  The way they handled these kinds of counseling cases was wrong.  End of story.  They need to fix it,...

Jay, you don't know that this is true. You don't know that they handled every single case involving a girl reporting abuse in the wrong way. In fact, the GRACE report is dealing with a relatively small number of complaints (relative to the number of graduates) in which there may have been errors made. You don't even know if the GRACE reporting of them is entirely accurate, you don't know how the data was gathered, how extensively the matters were investigated or anything of the sort.

Yet you (and others) are publicly pontificating that BJU needs to change as if you have all knowledge about the matter. You just don't know what you don't know. You ought to have a little more humility and trust that those who do know the situation far more intimately than you do are making good judgements about how to proceed.

I have taken a number of Jim Berg's counseling courses. I had an encounter with him as a student in a disciplinary sort of way. Since then I have had numerous positive encounters with him and have a great deal of respect for his understanding of biblical counseling, his integrity as a Christian leader, and of his wisdom in helping people solve problems. I am sure he has made mistakes. No one is immune to that.

Some of the posters here are attributing every error, mistaken judgement, etc alluded to in the GRACE report as if Jim Berg personally committed every one of them. That is just nonsense. It is nonsense demonstrating a very low level of reading skills and not much critical thinking. It is also nonsense as being out of touch with the testimony of the man I know.

Rather than calling on the alumni to cry out for his head, you ought to use your own head and realize that you are not reading this rightly.

You aren't treated brother Berg or Dr Bob and the University fairly at all.

 

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Jay's picture

Don-

There's a lot I could say (and a lot I'd LIKE to say), but I will say this: You need to pay more attention and read what I'm actually writing.

Attitudes like yours are exactly why I've aimed my arrows at BJU's Board.  Because as long as you see it as "relatively small number of complaints", you miss the entire point.  If it was your daughter (or daughter in law) who said this:

I bet you'd feel a lot differently.  Should we have ignored the issues at ABWE because Dr. Ketcham molested "a relatively small number" of women and children? 

Dismissing the concerns raised by those of us here on this site because we "don't know how the data was gathered, how extensively the matters were investigated or anything of the sort" is pretty rich, since the GRACE report itself describes the methodologies they used.  GRACE couldn't have done any of the investigation that they did without BJU's approval. Furthermore, there's two whole chapters in the report on methods and surveys - one on methodology and one on the survey questions.  

How much of the GRACE report have you actually read?  I'll bet that if you had actually read it, you would have a much different attitude and approach to those of us who are loyal enough to BJU and to Dr. Berg to point out the "sin in the camp" and actually say something about it.  You should know, after all, that judgment begins in the house of God (1 Peter 4:17).

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Joeb's picture

Don I'm with Jay regarding Berg and Mazcak.  Proof is in the pudding. To many witnesses are singing the same song and the obvious result in Bergs and Maczaks counseling techniques show up in the Tina Anderson case.  So if you support what Phelps did in this matter which Maczak and Jones are on record doing you are extremely mislead in your opinion of Berg.  Now that being said I do side with you about the current admin improving things at BJU and I have confidence in Pettit so I side with you there.  Some one already in this thread said BJU will allow students the option of going for on campus and off campus counseling ie the Valentine center and all BJU employees are designated reporters now.  

Don Johnson's picture

Jay wrote:

Attitudes like yours are exactly why I've aimed my arrows at BJU's Board.  Because as long as you see it as "relatively small number of complaints", you miss the entire point.  If it was your daughter (or daughter in law) who said this....

Two things:

  1. As for the young lady, if it were my daughter I would tell her that if she is going to be defeated and hurt by every errant comment she hears in a sermon in her life, she is in for a rough ride. She should forget it and move on.
  2. As to the relatively small number, I mean in the context of thousands of graduates. The complainants represent a small number and the picture you and others on this thread are painting of the atmosphere at BJU is something I don't recognize at all. I would guess most graduates would say the same. That is not to say mistakes were not made, and that some corrections are no doubt in order. But the atmosphere at the University during my years (over 10) directly involved on campus does not resemble anything that is being portrayed here. The vast majority of administration and staff were concerned for others and sought to help them with Biblical counsel when called upon to do so. I include Dr Berg in that statement.

Jay wrote:
 Should we have ignored the issues at ABWE because Dr. Ketcham molested "a relatively small number" of women and children?

Quite frankly, this comparison is disgusting. No one is alleging anything close to the ABWE situation occuring at BJU. To make this kind of comparison shows a prejudiced mind. The complaints at BJU were about how counsel was handled after the fact (often long after the fact) and not about covering up gross sexual impropriety. It is disgusting to make that comparison.

Jay wrote:
Dismissing the concerns raised by those of us here on this site because we "don't know how the data was gathered, how extensively the matters were investigated or anything of the sort" is pretty rich, since the GRACE report itself describes the methodologies they used.  GRACE couldn't have done any of the investigation that they did without BJU's approval. Furthermore, there's two whole chapters in the report on methods and surveys - one on methodology and one on the survey questions ...

Oh, whoopty do, GRACE did surveys. And from that extrapolated conclusions. There is no testing of witnesses, cross-examination, searching for corroborating witnesses, it relies on surveys and the words of the complainants. Sure, that's a great methodology. We should all just swoon. GRACE has spoken.

Jay wrote:
How much of the GRACE report have you actually read?  I'll bet that if you had actually read it, you would have a much different attitude and approach to those of us who are loyal enough to BJU and to Dr. Berg to point out the "sin in the camp" and actually say something about it.  You should know, after all, that judgment begins in the house of God (1 Peter 4:17).

I have read enough to know that they were extremely prejudiced against a biblical philosophy from the beginning. It is no surprise that they come up with a negative report. What is surprising is the number of people who just accept their report at face value and are unwilling to ask or entertain critical questions about its findings.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Bert Perry's picture

I'm going to do a couple of calculations to put the BJU fiasco into perspective.  First, the question of whether it's significant; I would assume about 40,000 students have started at BJU in the past 40 years, of which about 10% or 4000 would have been subjected to some level of sexual assault or molestation (half the rate of the population as a whole is my guess).  Of these, about a third might report the issue to police, and somewhat less would report the issue to BJU. I would guess that 200-500 reports is probably in the ballpark.

if that's at all close, between 10-25% of sexual assault and abuse reports showing up as "really badly handled" by BJU's own admission.  Not only is this significant, it also indicates that the problem is not people, but rather policies and procedures.  (I work, again, as a quality engineer--this is how your 8D goes)

This is why you don't just fire Berg and hope for the best--you would get identical results but with another name attached, and that with lawyers loaded for bear with the GRACE report.  You go top to bottom and examine the theology that is being used and correct it where it is wrong.  Two things to look for are (a) does BJU say things like "ladies, don't lead men astray with your clothing choices" and (b) do their counseling materials reject Biblical examples of PTSD and automatically assume that Dinah and Tamar were sinning?  

There are probably other things to look at, but that would be a great place to start.  And, wanting BJU to succeed as a Biblical, fundamental institution, this is exactly what I hope they do.  Same thing for Liberty U., ABWE, Trinity Baptist of Concord, and others caught in this mess.  No need to point fingers, this is simply how process improvement works.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Bert Perry's picture

....if GM or Toyota find a Z score of less than 4.5 (four defects per million parts) for a given component, life WILL be miserable for the SQEs for that component and the vendor until it's improved.  BJU's Z score here is about 1.  

Or, to draw a legal picture, if BJU continues to deny the reality of PTSD and suggest that "suggestive" clothing is to blame for sexual assault, they WILL eventually face lawyers who are going to put the GRACE report in Exhibit A.  It will not be pretty.  

 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jay's picture

Don,

If what happened at BJU to the victims happened to even *ONE* person, it was one person too many. It should never have happened at all. BJU said as much in the GRACE report. They said that they were not properly equipped or trained to handle it. As Bert said, that is a bigger, systemic issue, and to be perfectly honest with you, BJU is exceedingly fortunate that they haven't already been sued. That kind of admission is what lawyers live for.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Joeb's picture

Bert and Jay the Lawyers may already be sharpening their knives to cut up BJU in civil court. BJU can get any fundy former AUSA to say anything including there was no criminal activity, but that still is an opinion.  If that former AUSA is a true BJU believer than I in my opinion his review holds no water.  Not impartial.  It remains to be seen  If any criminal actions come out of the Grace Report.  As we have seen in the Tina Anderson case  these old child abuse cases can be prosecuted many years later and if one is an overt conspirator in a coverup he can be held liable for the same charges as the perp.  We shall see what happens. 

Joeb's picture

If anyone ends up being charged and convicted from this BJU Fiasco I'll be the first one on here saying  I told You so.  Also any action like that would back up every thing Bert and Jay said. 

djhouk's picture

Don,

The reported incidents are MUCH broader range than "counseling after the fact".  The ABWE comparison is valid.

KD Merrill's picture

Re: some of the talk about certain people being arrested for not fulfilling their mandatory reporting obligations, per scchildren.org, Who is defined as a mandated reporter?

By South Carolina Law [63-7-310] the following professionals are required to report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect:

* Physicians, nurses, dentists, optometrists
* Medical examiners, coroners and their employees
* Any other medical, emergency medical services, mental health or allied professionals
* Clergy, Christian Science practitioners, religious healers (Note: The exception to reporting when information is received from the alleged perpetrator of the abuse or neglect during a communication that is protected by the clergy and penitent privilege as provided in Section 19-11-90.)
* School teachers, counselors, principals, assistant principals
* Social or public assistance workers
* Substance abuse treatment staff
* Child care workers in day care centers and foster care facilities
* Judges
* Police or law enforcement officers including school truancy officers
* Non-attorney volunteer guardians ad litem
* Foster parents
* Undertakers, funeral home directors and employees
* Persons responsible for photo or film processing
* Juvenile justice workers
* Computer technicians

Not arguing a moral responsibility to report, but does anyone see “University Professor, Dean of ____, etc” listed there? I suppose you get close with clergy and school principal, but the list seems pretty specific and yet it doesn’t include anything specific directed at college/university positions.

Perhaps SC law needs even further clarification. Just wondering…

KD Merrill's picture

There may be some elements of truth to the story, but don't find it entirely credible.  The approach she attributes to Rand Hummel goes against everything I know about him, his life story and his approach.  

Should we take every accusation seriously and report when needed?  Of course.  Having said that, do people lie about sexual abuse/assault?  Absolutely.  Are the statistics regarding rape/sexual assault/abuse (especially on college campuses, e.g. 1/5 females, etc.) accurate?  Not on your life.  Does the "rape culture" exist?  Not anywhere near what the rape/sexual assault/abuse allegation cottage industry would have you believe.

 

Jay's picture

If someone has allegations of a criminal nature, the proper place for that to be reported and dealt with is their local police precinct, not a freaking internet message board or blog. Seriously, guys. Why are you even bringing that up here?  Are there not enough problems and permutations with this BJU story that we need to start pulling in other allegations as well?

Let's be mature and serious about this, shall we?

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Joeb's picture

KD that's why I underlined what I Did.  Also remember the Duke Lacrosse Team.  The allegator ended proven to be a lier and the district attorney lost his job over it because he continued to push the matter  he may have even been prosecuted himself  anyway when I interviewed a female suspect I always tried to have a female agent with me to protect myself from a false allegation   One time I took a complaint from female that was one wacked out chick but I had to prove she was giving false information   Turns out she was a former Philly Cop, who they fired for giving false info and being nuts After being fired and being criminally charged  she was on a mission to get all corrupt people that she felt wronged her she went to every law enforcement agency and made false allegations against people    When she saw I did nothing in her mind she came to see me  I did not have a witness to sit in with me so I had security send her on her way  she told the security guard that I was corrupt and would get mine  A week later she shot her own cousin and put him in a wheel chair, because he disagreed with her.   I think the Lord was looking out for  me   So yes I know what a person is who makes false allegations  as soon as she was in prison she penned a new letter to the U.S. attorney's Office and a good part of her letter was about me and my corrupt actions   My old boss called me up after he retired and I retired and he was working for the city of Phila IG  and guess who he interviewed as a complaintant my girlfriend who included my name in her newest complaint to the city  My boss picked my brain so he could write his way out if it so he did not have to do a full investigation for nothing  Although you do get false allegations all the allegations have to be vetted by a Law Enforcement Officer not By Berg or Jones   BJU can't pick and choose what they referr  Even if it is against a friend   I was investigated a number of times and nothing came of it because  all the allegations were false   I even know what is like to report a friend who I recieved an allegation against   This friend was an FBI agent and I was torn about referring it but I had no choice   The allegator was a former girlfriend of his and this poor agent had gone through a lot   He had a wacked out wife he left because she tried to kill him and his daughter  eventually this ex wife killed herself   So even with all this I still had to refer the allegation about a friend   

 

 

 

 

 

 

GregH's picture

I have been around the BJU controversy for years. I still marvel at just how a really fairly insignificant university of 3,000 students (in the scheme of things) can arouse such passion and these long threads. On one hand, you have the Don Johnsons (and others) who even though he is decades out of there still is obviously emotionally invested to the point where he can't bear to see them take any criticism, legitimate or not. And then you have the much larger group who just despises the place partly for valid reasons (their arrogance and absurd positions of the past) and maybe for some invalid reasons as well.

Why does BJU seem to matter so much to many? College is just a small part of a life and hopefully just a fraction of the growing and learning that takes place. It just seems to me that there is way too much emotional capital invested into that place. 

I really wonder what they put in the water over there in Greenville to instill such loyalty and hate in people. Me, I despise the BJU of the past but think they are doing a pretty decent job now. I would not hesitate to send my children there. But in the end of the day, I can't think of a good reason to really care much one way or the other.

 

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