Bob Jones University Has a ‘Don’t Ever Badmouth Us In Public’ Policy June 16, 2012

Bob Jones University Has a ‘Don’t Ever Badmouth Us In Public’ Policy

The 2012-2013 student handbook for Bob Jones University is out and if you’d like to see a glimpse of what life is like for the most conservative of all conservative Christians, you’ll want to check out these excerpts…

When it comes to music, headphones are banned. Big Brother has to know what you’re listening to. And even when you’re listening to music out loud, there are some restrictions. For instance, you can’t listen to any of that awful, secular jazz:

How about movies? You think it’s just the rated-R movies that aren’t allowed? Nope. You can’t watch a PG-13 movie by yourself. Only if a faculty or staff member is there to hold your hand as you go through the “objectionable elements.”

When it comes to video games, this is the rating system used in the industry:

So what ratings are not allowed by BJU?

So you can’t play Rock Band in your dorm room. If you do, Jesus will kill you.

I’m gonna skip all the dress code and discipline stuff and go down to the most interesting bit: The “Don’t Ever Badmouth Us in Public” policy:

Gotta how how they preface that with the line about honor and wisdom, as if you expressing your natural frustration with school on Facebook means you are automatically dishonorable or lacking wisdom. I like how Darrell at Stuff Fundies Like puts it:

If you have to threaten to punish your students to keep them from speaking ill about you to the press, you’ve already lost the PR battle.

In case you weren’t already aware, BJU also has very strict rules about dating (as you might imagine) and used to have a ban on interracial dating.

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  • Is there a word for how conservative this is…?

  • Glasofruix

    You sure it’s a “university”? Because it sounds to me like a prison. It’s kind of hard to imagine a school dictating to young adults what they can and cannot do in the privacy of their homes…

  • gski

    How weak their arguments for faith in god must be that they need to control people like this.  It also brings to mind Hitchens’ point of god monitoring us like the North Korean’s monitor their people.

  • Patterrssonn


  • dantresomi

    I love they use legalese to explain this nonsense. 

  • I like how they think Classical music is OK: I’m guessing they’ve never heard Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring”, then?  Dancing is totally unacceptable, but boring music such as Coldplay and Garth Brooks are banned. OK …

    One thing to keep in mind is that BJU wouldn’t get away with this stuff if it wasn’t demanded by the parents of students. These are kids who have been closeted their whole lives before university, and aren’t ready to experience the “real world” at that point. Parents who have done a good job of real world parenting don’t need their kids to be treated as virtual prisoners.

  • Jasmyn

    Please tell me this isn’t real. Are you sure this isn’t from a Christwire article?

  • mikespeir

     “…they’ve never heard Stravinsky’s ‘Rite of Spring'”

    Or pretty much anything by Bela Bartok or…don’t even get me started.   And I can think of some opera that would make the BJU censors’ heads explode!

  • TheAnalogKid

    Sorry. “BJU” made me think of something else. My mind just will not climb out of the gutter.

  • JD929

    To any prospective BJU students that just happen to see this: RUN AWAY. They don’t think you can handle media intended for young teens, and you’re 18? They don’t think any form of jazz is good for you? Won’t let you watch PG without a substitute parent? There are a lot more reasons to avoid this place too.

  • M J Shepherd


  • John Small Berries

    You can’t watch a PG-13 movie by yourself. Only if a faculty or staff
    member is there to hold your hand as you go through the “objectionable

    Nope, you can’t even watch a PG-13 movie with supervision; only chaperoned PG movies are permitted. That and the E10+ limit on videogames reveals a disgusting level of infantilization.

  • Camorris

    I had the same thought.

  • Lee Miller

    The really alarming thing is that the students just take it . . . if they would all walk, the place would have to shut down.  It’s hard for me to imagine that many young adults together in one place and willing to follow rules like these.  Do they give them medication to suppress their hormones?

  • Marguerite

    We live near Regent University, and I often tease my oldest about going there (she’s actually going to a good state school this fall). I tell her she wouldn’t last a day at Regent. But at BJU? She wouldn’t last five minutes. She couldn’t tolerate the ridiculously invasive rules for a nanosecond, and I can’t imagine wanting her to. Even if a kid has been brought up with the requisite religious beliefs, why on earth would any young adult put up with this kind of oppressive environment? Obviously some do, and it makes me sad to consider how they must have been brought up, and what “values” of submission and self-hatred must have been drummed into them over the years. 

  • dorothy30

     what have they got against country music? it is rife with religious lyrics. no more ‘jesus take the wheel’???? they will have to ban that, now that carrie underwood has spoken out in favor same-sex marriage

  • Dcf11

    How does this get young adults ready for the “real world”?  Either the students are ignoring the rules, or they’re graduating to a huge world full of terrifying adjustment.

  • Stev84

     You have to keep in mind that for many people there this isn’t much different from how they grew up

  • I think it is GREAT that they have these rules and guidelines in place.
    Having structure and clear limit-setting is GOOD for children.

    Too many children in Kindergarten and early elementary school are over-exposed to things like movies/video-games/music that contains too much gore, sex, profanity, etc. than is appropriate for young children.

    Admittedly, the guidelines here are on the strict side for most elementary school children, basically limiting these children to about age 7-10 years old, so the rules would need to be advanced by the time these children reach “middle-school”.

    Wait…. what?  BJU is a “university”?
    As in COLLEGE kids?
    And they are treating them like 7-10-year-olds??
    And the students go there voluntarily??
    Really?  …Really? WTF??


  • “…believers must exercise biblical discernment coupled with a surrendered heart”

    Surrendered heart?  All I keep getting are images of Aztec temples from that. (shudder)

  • digitalatheist

    Oh it is VERY real. I don’t live all that far from Bob Jones Hack-eversity. Believe me, when the news hit the news (heh) a few years ago that they were still banning interracial dating, they squirmed mightily trying to explain how their reasons for it were “valid” and only helping the students live “godly” lives.

  • DarkSyn

     Just think, if the Evangelists get their way and if Mitt wins, this could all be in your own future too.  Something to look forward to right?

  • digitalatheist

    Many of the students know what they are getting into… it is why the chose the place. However they do speak out at times. The whole “don’t badmouth the school” came about because students specifically complained about the school’s old police against interracial dating. They tried to get the school to relent then finally tossed the turd into the public punchbowl. Now, Bob Jones Hack-eversity says they can’t speak, because they really don’t want people to know just how archaic and parochial their policies are.

    Not that they teach much beyond “Bible 1005 right, queers bad, vote Republican”.

  • Bonsaikc

    I knew a girl when I was in Bible college who had left BJU because the choir director insisted she dye her beautiful strawberry blond hair so as to blend in more perfectly with the other Barbies.

  • JM

    Ok, you guys need to stop or pretty soon these poor kids won’t be able to listen to anything other than traditional worship music. Oh,wait. I suppose that’s the intent isn’t it?

  • digitalatheist

    I’m not surprised.

  • Phil Bellerive

    I don’t believe BJU is an accredited university.   It’s main focus is on the training of missionaries.

  • This is what religion is, nothing more than insidious form of mind control, the only way to make the sheep do what they want. These young adults will have hell trying to make it in the real world. This so called university is nothing more than a joke of the worst kind.

  • Hey don’t knock it Santorum has to send his freaky home-schooled kids somewhere that is free from them being exposed to anything they still haven’t seen while they were under 18.

  • kaydenpat

    I assume that the kids who go to BJU know about all those restrictions, and are fine with them, before they become students.  I used to attend a strict religious high school.  Of course, some kids broke the rules, but generally you go along to get along until you graduate. 

  • Andrew B.

    No Jazz?  Fuck YOU, Bob.

  • A girl from one of my old churches goes there now. I really don’t know why she chose to go…our church was nowhere near that conservative.
    Anyways, she’s engaged now and I was looking at the pictures of her and her fiance on Facebook. It’s just awkward to look at…there is minimal physical contact. They don’t even hold hands. They just sit or stand together and smile and sometimes their shoulders touch.
    I really hope the best for them, but I worry that they don’t know what they’re getting themselves into.

  • mikespeir

    Hold it.  Which traditional worship music?  There’s some really bad theology in some of it.  And didn’t Jubal, son of that murderer Cain, invent music?  Whoa!  Better just forget the whole music thing.

  • Zacharycg

    This is not a legitimate college. No employers should treat these “graduates” as educated.

  • The logistics of arranging social interaction at BJU make it effectively impossible. Can the women and men in mixed groups not converge until everyone is there? While you are waiting for the last person to arrive you are technically in an even group, so it’s prohibited.

    BJU students don’t have social lives. They have playdates.

  • Borgesque?

  • I’m very curious, are the graduates of BJU as unprepared for life academically as they apparently are unprepared socially? What kind of jobs do they get, besides permanent missionary work? Does BJU even keep job placement records of their graduates?

  • Jazz, like Mozart, is the exquisite sound of math. These students are being severely stunted.

    Is there a long list of books that they’re forbidden to read as well as music genres?

  • digitalatheist

    Ah… I see the ol’ no hand-holding nonsense is still in force there. I forgot about that. I may be mistaken, but I think at one time they even tried to apply it to students off campus. But like I say, I might be misremembering.

  • digitalatheist

    Actually, yes I’m pretty sure their approved reading materials are pretty much all college approved, since that is pretty much how they handle all of the other nonsense over there.

  • I imagine that to save paper and ink they publish a short list of what titles the students may read, rather than a long, long list of what they may not read.

  • TheAnalogKid

    “BJU”; sounds like one of those 80s movies in the vein of Porky’s.

  • BrentSTL

    I lived near Clemson, SC, for a couple of years, and I’d go into Greenville every so often. Passed by the BJU “campus” a few times. I wouldn’t describe it so much a college campus as much as a prison camp, with guards to match. Very unnerving, to say the least.

  • Dan

    When I went to Bob Jones University (for two miserable semesters) it was illegal to copy, disperse, talk about publicly , or take out of the dorm room the rule book. I thought it was extremely telling how afraid they were that outsiders might see the ‘godly’ rules the administration had implemented.

    The dorm environment was much closer to military basic training than a college environment. Seriously, several times when I was basic training I though “this is a lot like Bob Jones.”

  • Dan

    Pensacola Christian College in Florida is even stricter than BJU. There were several students at BJU when I went there who had been kicked out of Pensacola and were loving the relative freedom of BJU!

  • Dan

     Except even Santorum’s children wouldn’t be welcome, because they are Catholics. BJU hates the Catholics and won’t let students go to Catholic churches while attending.

  • Dan

     It’s real, I went there in 2002-2003 and all the above rules were in place. BJU has actually gotten a little less strict recently since Stephen Jones took over the presidency from his father (nepotism is ramped there).

  • Dan

     It definitely isn’t just missionaries trained there. One of South Carolina’s medical schools usually admits 2 BJU graduates a year; I’ve know a bunch of nurses who went there, and there are a lot of businessmen who went to school there. BJU graduates are actually pretty highly sought after in a lot of companies run by fundamentalist Christians. The saddest thing is that these graduates teach in a lot of Christian schools (my high-school science teacher was a BJU bible major, we mostly talked about young-earth creationism), and even in Alaska I know of several public school teachers who went to BJU and said publicly in the church I used to go to that they were teaching in public school expressly to save the souls of lost children.

  • Dan

    Well you actually aren’t allowed to be off campus with the opposite gender unless a faculty member is present, so hand holding isn’t much of an issue. And you have to sign out of campus each time you leave with who you are going with and to where, and will get expelled or severely punished if you are caught not signing out or with someone not of the pass.

  • allein

    Interestingly, I went to their website and clicked on the link to the student handbook, and it told me my version of Acrobat wasn’t compatible and I needed [X version]…which is what I have…(I was trying to see if it says anything about acceptable reading materials outside of class materials; google didn’t help me there).

    There is also a box on the homepage that contains the words “Build Faith” which at first glance I read as “Blind Faith.”

  • Dan

     BJU students can actually get ‘socialed’ if they get enough demerits. That means you aren’t allowed to talk to girls for the rest of the semester, unless it is in class and directly about class material.

    I know because I was socialed for about a week at BJU because I got too many demerits because I was (literally) 2 minutes late for 1 class, ‘looked unshaven’, forgot to empty the trash can in my room a few times, and had a boss who thought I skipped a shift, even though I wasn’t scheduled. Just that was enough for me to be denied from talking to girls, although I did fight and managed to get a couple of the ‘forgot to empty the trash’ demerits off my record, so was eventually unsocialed.

  • Dan

    I went there for the 2002-2003 school year and it was still secret then. That was the really annoying thing, I wasn’t allowed to see the rules until I was already a student, and before I was allowed to see the rule book I had to sign a form saying I would abide by all the rules, even though I didn’t know what they were.

    I hope they do publish their rules so prospective students can read them before deciding to attend. I was an incredibly fundamentalist Christian then, and was astonished when I read the rule book after I was already stuck there.

  • A Reader

    My Christian elementary “school” was more progressive than this “university”…

  • allein

    My school had an honor pledge that we had to sign, but we were actually allowed to read the handbook and know what we were agreeing to. Hopefully it’s just something wonky with my computer and they don’t really have a link to a handbook that you can’t actually read.

    (I went to a Brethren Church-affiliated college, but it was not actually a religious school by any means and probably a small minority of students were actually members of the Brethren Church. The Brethren Church is right next door but not technically on campus, and they had a shuttle service to provide transportation to other area churches if anyone without a car wanted to go to another denomination, and they held a Catholic mass on Sundays (or was it Wednesday evenings?) somewhere on campus. Can’t say I ever took advantage of this; the only time I went to the church was for choir concerts that my friends were in. I was raised Methodist and still ostensibly a believer at the time but I stopped going to church regularaly sometime in high school.)

  • Matt O’Neal

    I think this is ludicrous, but here’s a quick comparison.

    I went to a strict military college (The Citadel) where I see a lot of similarities to the rules we lived under. I chose this school because I had the foresight to realize I needed the discipline. We wore uniforms everywhere, could only leave campus at prescribed times, were forced to be in our rooms studying for hours every night, and lived under an honor code that forbade us to lie, cheat or steal, or tolerate anyone who did.

    Was I an honorable man when I graduated? I guess so. I don’t lie, cheat or steal now. Would I have arrived where I am today without this discipline thrust upon me? Probably so, eventually.

    I chose to live under what most would consider archaic, militaristic rule for four years, knowing full well what I was getting into. And it did prepare me for a successful military career. I think many BJU students are choosing this school because it will prepare them for what they want to do after college. As misguided as we see these choices, for someone who wants to live the rest of their life following these freakish rules, four years of indoctrination will make it easier for them. Granted, it’s not preparing them for the social life that most of us lead, but it may very well prepare them for the social life they hope to lead.

    I guess it pains me to realize that there isn’t a big difference between a strict military college and a strict religious college. Well, except one prepares students for a career of serving and defending our country, and the other, well, it doesn’t.

  • Tom

    It doesn’t – but these people wouldn’t understand why that’s even a problem.  Did you miss the part where they basically stated that the real world was something they wanted no part of?

  • Glasofruix

      ‘looked unshaven’

    If my college was enforcing that i would have been thrown out long ago.

  • Pichuscute

    We have a mini-dictatorship in the US, it seems

  • Stev84

     So much for the “people know what they’re getting into” justification

  • Semele

    You know, the minute I read that “don’t badmouth the school” rule, I wondered if it came about because people objected to the “no interracial dating” rule. Ha. Predictable gits, aren’t they?

  • But that… it… I… they can’t seriously… *boggles*

  •  Resistance is futile, you WILL be assimilated… OR ELSE.

  • *touch*

    *touch touch touch*


  • destrux

    I went to a private christian school which heavily promoted BJU as well as other similar schools, and let me say, they are ludicrous with their micro-managing of the people who are supposed to become the leaders of their churches. They are simply an extreme conservative side of Christianity, though, so please know that not all of us are like them.

  • Bob Jones is the worst of the worst.  I’m glad there are enough religious colleges that aren’t that insane or cultic.

  • They should stick with the Bible, we all know there is nothing questionable in it

  • rhodent

    You think Rite of Spring is bad?  Mozart wrote a canon titled “Leck Mich Am Arsch” (loosely translated as “Kiss my ass!”)

  • 69ingchipmunks

    BJU in a Google search yields British Journal of Urology International as the top result. Even in search results science ranks Number one (pun intended).

  • The thing about not using the media to disparage the institution sounds familiar. We have the same thing at the state university where I work, only it is directed at employees rather than students.

  • digitalatheist

    The link works. It may be a bug in your version of Acrobat.
    Here is the one thing I’ve found so far about reading materials:

    Certain types of magazines and catalogs reflect an ungodly philosophy or pervasive sensuality and are not to be received through the campus post office, read on campus or in stores, or downloaded onto electronic devices. These include fashion, model, teen, body-building, video/computer game and television/film magazines such as Esquire, GQ, People, Entertainment, Yahoo Magazine, Men’s Fitness and ESPN.

  • jdm8

    That’s just reprehensible.  If the rulings on software EULAs are any indication, that system wouldn’t have held up in court, because you don’t know what you’re actually agreeing to.

    I wonder if that was a response to the public outcry of their stance against interracial dating.  Last I recall, up to the 90’s, they had specific rules against interracial dating, despite the fact they had a stance against dating.

  • jdm8

    I wonder if the marriage life of the typical BJU grad is any good.  I don’t understand where they think it’s healthy to enforce such strict rules before marriage and then say “have at it” after the vow.

  • They should also be OK with Black Gospel music, no matter how enthusiastic,  and the Missa Luba.  I wonder where they draw the line between ‘country’ and ‘folk’ music.

  • allein

    Yeah, I think so; I got the same message later on another site, too.

    Do they need a chaperone when they go shopping, too, to make sure they don’t read anything objectionable in the checkout line?

  • digitalatheist

    while this highlight doesn’t exactly adress your question:

    A residence hall or day student with advanced privileges will enjoy all general privileges, plus

    • May chaperone a mixed group of up to four other students off campus to public places in the local Greenville area and mixed groups on campus when a chaperon is required
    • May double-date off campus to public places in the local Greenville area without a faculty/staff chaperon when all four students have advanced privileges
    • May chaperone a mixed group on extension outside the Greenville area
    • With dean’s approval, may participate in overnight mixed group extension ministries with other students who also have advanced privileges (See Outreach Ministries, Appendix E.)
    • May chaperone an academy student of the same gender off campus22

    • Once a week (Monday through Thursday nights) may study until 2 a.m. in the residence hall study lounge

    • May access open/mixed media websites
    • May access open/mixed media websites

  • digitalatheist

    More chaperone nonsense:
    Private Homes

    • Students of the same gender may visit a private non-faculty/staff home when one of the following is present:

    A student with advanced privileges

    An immediate relative who is an adult

    A resident adult who is at least 23 years old

    • Mixed groups visiting a private home require a chaperon meeting one of the following qualifications:

    A parent or grandparent, or a sibling who is a BJU graduate

    A faculty or staff member or a graduate assistant

    A pastor, elder, deacon or paid staff member from a student’s home church or Greenville-area church

    • The home address is to be stated on the pass.
    • The home address is to be stated on the pass.

  • digitalatheist

    and some more:

    An academy residence hall student

    • Will check out when he/she leaves campus and check in upon return
    • May walk or ride by bus to a public place when accompanied by a person of the same gender who is a BJU student
    • May ride to a public place or private home when accompanied by a student of the same gender who has advanced privileges, is a F/S/GA, is a BJU graduate, is married, is over 30, or is a married person of the opposite gender provided a third person is also present
    • May date or be in a mixed group off campus in the presence of his/her own parents

    • With special permission, may attend certain youth group activities and other special events off campus and when accompanied by a F/S/GA

  • digitalatheist

    and one more for goodness sake:
    I love that mixed groups of siblings and 1st cousins are okay…

    • Groups need to include an odd ratio of genders (e.g., three women and two men) and at least one student with advanced privileges for every five students in the group. The student with advanced privileges assumes responsibility for the safety and activity of the group. Group members stay together throughout the activity.

    A sibling who is a BJU grad may chaperone up to four students
    A faculty/staff member, GA or parent/grandparent may chaperone up to 10 students
    A faculty/staff or GA married couple may chaperone up to 20 students25
    Pastors, elders, deacons or paid staff of a student’s church or sponsor of a visiting group may chaperone up to 10 students who are members of his church

    • Two dating couples may double date to a public place if all four people have advanced privileges. The four are to stay together.

    • Mixed groups of brothers, sisters and first cousins may go to public places together. All student names are to be listed on a relative registration form obtained via e-pass and submitted to the dean of men’s/women’s office.
    • Mixed groups of brothers, sisters and first cousins may go to public places together. All student names are to be listed on a relative registration form obtained via e-pass and submitted to the dean of men’s/women’s office.

  • allein

    It just boggles my mind that there are so many (and so specific) rules; and that college students – the majority of whom are presumably legal adults or nearly so* – are required to have chaperones at all.

    *I was still 17 when I started college because my birthday isn’t until October, and one of my friends on my dorm hall skipped a grade and was 6 months younger than me; we were still treated as adults just like everyone else on campus.

    This part:
    • and at least one student with advanced privileges for every five students in the group

    makes me think of the laws for daycare workers; X number of staff for every Y number of children.

  • allein

    Were you allowed to watch PG movies without a chaperone and read People magazine on your off hours? That’s really what gets me most, is the students being treated like children. Hell, I was allowed to watch certain R-rated movies when I was 11; my parents looked at the content and decided I was mature enough to handle it (Stand By Me and The Lost Boys come to mind). But you’re right, if they are truly choosing this of their own accord, that’s their business. The ones who end up at such schools because it’s all their parents will allow are the ones I feel bad for.

  • digitalatheist

    And while thumbing through the handbook this morning, as regards hair: the male dress code totally prohibits the coloring of hair. It also prohibits shaving the head unless the student is a military reservist, or has a noticeably receding hairline.

    Female students on the other hand are allowed to color their hair, as long as the color “appears natural”.

  • amycas

     CFNI in Dallas, TX makes the male students have “accountability partners” to make sure they don’t masturbate. If the school finds out that a couple was having sex, they force them to tell their parents, or get married, or be expelled (at which point their parents would find out why).

  • I can’t believe they’re called BJU! I’d totally date a girl who graduated with distinction from BJU.

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