August 23, 2011

Bob Jones University

Everyone has their own perspective on this place.  Most outsiders will recall former President (then Governor) G.W. Bush's visitation to the campus back in 2000.  (That was two years before I went).  His visit their exposed a little publicized rule the university had upheld since its inception: no inter-racial dating.  I kid you not; the year 2000 marked the revocation of that rule, which was based on the founder's family's personal preferences for their own children.  Keeping in mind that this form of racism was considered normal at this fine institution, they still uphold the rule that men and women cannot touch each other until they are married.  Further, if they are sitting too closely or seem as though they are about to touch, they can be written up.  In the three and a half years I attended, I cannot recall one memory of a kissing couple on the campus.

Let me continue.  Men were to wear ties during the week.  Only while I was attending did they relax the rule and allow men to remove their ties after lunch hour.  After lunch hour, the mandatory dress code was no less formal than a polo shirt and slacks.  Even on weekends, men could not wear jeans.  The women had to wear tights or pantyhose until after the lunch hour.  At one point, one of the sororities (or societies as they were called at BJU; more on that later) began wearing ties on Fridays.  After only two weeks of this practice, the board passed a rule to ban all women from wearing neckties because too many of the faculty were having impure thoughts as a result.  The same rule was applied to leather boots.  Eventually, a rule was enacted that mandated that women wear clothes that allowed no less than two inches of loose material on each side of their bodies (top or bottom; consequentially, the only bottoms permitted for women on campus were dresses or skirts; no pants).  If any woman student was through to have breached this mandate, they were susceptible to immediate inspection by any woman faculty or staff member.  Through my connections with the student body president during my junior year, I was told this dress code was maintained as a result of the visitors' comments that "the student body looked so sharp."

This university was ruled by an unseen force.  Many supposed this to be the board of directors, but I always suspected it to be Beelzebub himself.  The students were brainwashed to believe that the greatest calling, and thus, the best program to study, was the ministry (e.g. preacher, pastor, third-world missionary, etc).  Even by liberal values, this seemed a noble goal: the giving of oneself to others through the ministry.  Unfortunately, the future ministers were taught less about helping others and more on helping propagate the filth taught at this university.

Demerits: the incremental doom brought down upon the student body kept those righteous in the student body constantly on their best behavior, and kept the rest of us wishing the faculty couldn't add.  If a student accumulated 150 demerits within a semester, that student would be expelled.  If the student reached 75 demerits, he couldn't leave campus.  If that student passed 100 demerits, he couldn't be caught even speaking to a member of the opposite sex (unless it was in an academic setting).  As it turns out, that student couldn't even be sitting two seats down from a member of the opposite sex during lunch hour.  Certain actions were attached with a comparable number of demerits.  If you didn't make your bed in the morning, you received 5 demerits.  If you didn't perform your daily duties cleaning your dorm room, the same number of demerits were accumulated.  If you were late for class, you received 10 demerits.  If you were marked absent, you received 25 demerits.  The same applied to the daily church services required for all students.  Occasionally, there were clerical errors, and students were marked absent that were actually in attendance.  In that case, they were to appear before a (relatively) informal judging committee that would require a professor's slip noting the error to remove the infraction from the student's record.  The lines for these informal committees were often over 100 students long, despite being held twice a day ever other day of the week.

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