Talk:Bob Jones University

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject Religion / Interfaith (Rated B-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Religion, a project to improve Wikipedia's articles on Religion-related subjects. Please participate by editing the article, and help us assess and improve articles to good and 1.0 standards, or visit the wikiproject page for more details.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by Interfaith work group.
WikiProject Christianity (Rated B-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Christianity, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Christianity on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Universities (Rated B-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Universities, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of universities and colleges on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
WikiProject Conservatism (Rated B-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Conservatism, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of conservatism on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject United States / South Carolina (Rated B-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject United States, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of topics relating to the United States of America on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the ongoing discussions.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by WikiProject South Carolina (marked as Low-importance).


What is the university's endowment size? —Eustress talk 01:11, 24 February 2012 (UTC)

There is, for practical purposes, none.--John Foxe (talk) 19:17, 20 March 2012 (UTC)
WP:RS? —Eustress talk 19:55, 20 March 2012 (UTC)
Also none.--John Foxe (talk) 21:18, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

People section[edit]

This article has experienced significant vandalism problems in the past when "notable graduates" have been mentioned on the article page. The separate "list" has seen much less vandalism, probably >5% of what used to occur on the main page. The guidelines say that sections may be "customized...depending on need and type of institution." Here there is a need for abbreviation. While there are quite a few BJU alumni who have their own WP bios, few to none meet the qualifications given in the rubric: "alumni who have won major scholarships (Rhodes, Fulbright, etc.), major awards (Nobel, Oscar, Pulitzer, etc.), served as heads of government or other major political office, or otherwise held elite or notable distinctions (astronauts, professional athletes, CEOs, etc.)."--John Foxe (talk) 19:17, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

I've expanded the alumni section -- looks like plenty of notable people to me. Will get to faculty soon. You shouldn't prevent expansion out of concern for vandalism. This page has only been semi-protected once, and that was in 2010. —Eustress talk 19:54, 20 March 2012 (UTC)
Since I have vivid memories of the vandalism, I disagree.--John Foxe (talk) 20:27, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

If Jamie Langston Turner is a notable person -- nice though she may be, she is not widely known outside of BJU circles -- than the Rector of one of the largest Episcopal Churches in the nation (David R. Anderson) and the CIO of a Fortune 1000 company are notable people. Moreover, if it is notable to mention an "update" to university facilities including "Papa John's, Chik fil A and Brody's Grill," then the mention of an incident that made national headlines in 1998 when Bob Jones University banned a prominent alumnus and retired pastor from campus (Dr. Wayne Mourtizen), threatened him with arrest, and then subsequently backtracked when the University's Museum & Gallery's tax exempt status became an issue -- especially since the ban letters subsequently received by all former students specifically mention the M&G being excluded from a campus ban -- is a notable piece of information for an encyclopedia entry. I have cited credible sources. Disappearing information that Bob Jones University administration feels uncomfortable about is not the purpose of Wikipedia editing. Brodacious (talk) 00:14, 5 March 2014 (UTC) Brodacious


The article, especialyl its introduction, is written with the assumption that the reader is in the USA - "all fifty states" isn't qualified as referring to the US, the 'Department of Education' isn't qualified as being the US DoE, etc. Though it's not particularily difficult to unearth the location of these places, isn't it standard policy to remove regional bias? I forget them name of it. I know spelling differences are left in the style of whoever first wrote the article, and that there's going to be a natural bias towards writing articles for the Young White American, but the article still seems very Amero-centric (if that's the word), and besides being simply off-putting makes it that much harder to read. --Dd 8630 (talk) 17:14, 28 April 2012 (UTC)

Fundamental vs. Fundamentalist[edit]

There's been some recent reverting back and forth over this [1]. I'm not aware of the exact distinctions between the two terms, but in my limited experience "fundamentalist" is the more common term. Either way, it should probably be discussed here before making the change again. (As a side note, I can't think of a Wikipedia policy saying that we need to stay as closely as possible to the original language when paraphrasing, or that we can't use synonyms to keep the language more in line with the rest of the article.) ~Adjwilley (talk) 16:51, 3 September 2012 (UTC)

Hi. I did revert it once, basically for the reason you stated: I'm simply unfamiliar with "fundamental" as opposed to "fundamentalist". I'm StillStanding (24/7) (talk) 16:53, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Eating fiber is fundamental for a good diet. Believing God's word literally, for example, and building a church and a school on that basis is fundamentalist. You had it right in your revert: they are very different words and "fundamentalist" is the proper term. There are no "fundamental churches". (Look it up in the dictionary.) Drmies (talk) 16:54, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
Until 1996, there was a denomination called Independent Fundamental Churches of America (now IFCA International), and many fundamentalist Baptists (and their bitter opponents) often call their churches "Independent Fundamental Baptist" (IFB).--John Foxe (talk) 19:40, 3 September 2012 (UTC)

Thank you.

  • A church can call itself what it wants to, but that has nothing to do with whether it should be called fundamentalist or not. Drmies (talk) 00:42, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
The issue is not for us to try to explain the difference between a "fundamentalist church" or a "fundamental church." There may or may not be a difference or a nuance, but the issue is that there is indeed a Wikipedia policy about quotation (please see Wikipedia:QUOTE) and Wikipedia does view paraphrasing like a quote when it is sourced inline. The specific guideline is, "If not used verbatim, any alterations must be clearly marked." Additionally, "fundamental Baptist church" receives 388,000 results on Google (a majority of BJU constituents appear to be Baptist or Baptistic), whereas "fundamentalist Baptist church" gets only 14,500 results. Obviously there is a difference out there, so that would be reason enough. But again, the issue is not a Google search but that Wikipedia editors must abide by the objective guideline, not one's stylistic opinion. If you don't like the grammar of it then put the two instances in quotation marks to avoid criticism of seemingly bad grammar. But please revert. If someone insists on misquoting the source, at least he would need to use brackets in both instances of the quote (i.e., "[fundamentalist]" instead of "fundamentalist") to "clearly mark" the alteration. But that would be unnecessarily awkward.--Llama36 (talk) 21:25, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
  • If editors can't tell the difference between one and the other, then someone should explain it. If it concerns a quote, then obviously the source should be followed, but it should also be clear that it's a source that's being quoted or paraphrased. Honestly, I'm baffled at this entire conversation. Fundamentalist means something very specifically and it's not a term to be thrown around lightly, but it has little to do with the word fundamental. Drmies (talk) 00:42, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
I think I can fix that simply.--John Foxe (talk) 21:34, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
Excellent solution that also cuts down on redundancy. Thanks.--Llama36 (talk) 21:41, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
Curiously, the reference to church planting in Turner's book uses the term "Fundamentalist churches."--John Foxe (talk) 21:45, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
I regret to have missed that and to have referred to "two instances" of misquote. Therefore the second quote could be reverted but not the first. I still think it is improved as is now, but to be fair I have removed the "solved" bar. --Llama36 (talk) 22:26, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
No problem. I think it reads better now too.--John Foxe (talk) 23:11, 3 September 2012 (UTC)

What Wikipedia Is Not ... Any Input Here?[edit]

Looking over this article, I wonder whether or not it meets the criteria of WP:What_Wikipedia_is_not. For example, "When you wonder what should or should not be in an article, ask yourself what a reader would expect to find under the same heading in an encyclopedia." For example, some of the controversies and rules of conduct seem strange for an encyclopedia. Many other schools have guidelines and rules and controversies. Some of them might be necessary, but to me much of the stuff in here doesn't seem consistent with notability; Why would an editor choose some rules to highlight and not others? Who decides what is notable? Why are those specific ones chosen? Anyone have any thoughts on this?--Llama36 (talk) 17:28, 15 September 2012 (UTC)

Frankly, most people only know of Bob Jones University because of its former policies on interracial dating. Before I read this article the three things I knew about BJU is: 1. it didn't allow interracial dating until very recently, 2. it was unaccredited (apparently a choice of the three Bob Joneses that Stephen Jones has reversed) and 3. it promotes creationism (of course most evangelical colleges have a very strong anti-science bent, but Liberty and BJU are the only ones I remember hearing named specifically). Reading this article I had the opposite reaction (see the section below), in that it came across as apologizing for the unaccredited policy with wording that I suspect of giving undue weight to claims in one book that the policy was irrelevant. —Quintucket (talk) 04:02, 6 December 2013 (UTC)

Criticism needs to be more prominent[edit]

Some of the criticism (or a summary of it) should be included in the opening paragraphs. It's important and what best describes this institution. Seeing how much of the criticism has now been corrected this would mean that the opening paragraph would remain neutral (i.e. They didn't permit interracial dating until recently)--ЗAНИA talk WB talk] 12:24, 6 January 2013 (UTC)

Good observation. Care to take a stab at it? —Eustress talk 02:43, 7 January 2013 (UTC)
I also agree that the criticism is unduly downplayed. The college is pretty much solely known for its fringe policies and long history of non-accreditation, however the article as written downplays the former and makes excuses for the latter. However I'm worried that as a staunch secularist, I couldn't edit the article fairly, and would be inclined to go too far in the other direction.
If I have time this January I might like to see if I can't get the book that's cited in claims that the non-accreditation didn't matter for most of its history, and if as I suspect it's either a misrepresentation of the source or the source is one long apologia for BJU, remove those sentences. However the rest of the criticism seems like something I'd have a hard time editing fairly, because it would require adding information that's been lacking, not merely removing one-sided information from a fringe source or odd interpretation of a source. —Quintucket (talk) 04:15, 6 December 2013 (UTC)

For profit status[edit]

The citation that BJU is a for-profit school is based on the organization of the entity as one without tax exempt status, which is what people judge colleges' status by on some level, but it is inaccurate. I am almost certain they are organized as a non-profit corporation and just don't have tax exempt status, but there is ambiguity among reliable sources about that, so I think that the article shouldn't claim the university to be for-profit or not, and should clarify this in the text. BranSul (talk) 19:06, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

I concur that a plethora of websites out there claim BJU is one way or another without any real grounding. However, the NCES would seem authoritative on the matter. Plus, the article itself also explains that, "Although BJU never reapplied for federal tax-exempt status [after it was revoked via decision of Bob Jones University v. United States (1983)] and continues to pay federal taxes, a number of its ancillaries, including Bob Jones Academy and the BJU Museum & Gallery, are tax-exempt entities." —Eustress talk 02:31, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
I just checked the SC Secretary of State for certainty. At you can see that BJU is in fact organized as a non-profit. Its tax exempt status is a separate matter. BranSul (talk) 03:23, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
I think you're right. The SOS website also properly categorizes other private non-profits (e.g., Wofford) and for-profits (e.g., Forrest College). Cheers. —Eustress talk 00:23, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
I sort of think the NCES does that to be a bit slick with making it clear that tax exempt status isn't there? Or they don't see it as a different matter. But I think it's common knowledge among legal that some non-profits are not tax exempt. From the perspective of every state's law (which is the law which forms corps) nonprofit means nobody is getting any dividends. BJU probably doesn't pay state income taxes. BranSul (talk) 06:41, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

Handling of sexual assault cases[edit]

Apparently, the administration of Bob Jones University referred to victims of sexual assault as "liars" and "sinners", and coerced them not to report the assaults because doing so would "damage Jesus Christ". The university hired a fundamentalist Christian consulting firm to audit its practices regarding sexual assault, but then fired the consulting firm without explanation just before its report was due to be completed. (New York Times, Washington Post. Is this notable? Should it be mentioned in the article? MastCell Talk 06:10, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

It's very notable and should be worked into the controversies section. (talk) 23:50, 12 February 2014 (UTC)


As can be seen all over this talk page, the consensus is that the article whitewashes the schools long history of straight up racist policies. There is no doubt that pushing the information into a "controversies" section is an attempt to cover up this racism. Further attempts to use WP:Wikilawyering in an attempt to make this school look better on Wikipedia will be seen as exactly that. Abductive (reasoning) 19:22, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

I disagree. There's been no attempt to cover up anything. The section on racial policies is c. 5000 words, while the description of the campus, plus discussion of academics (and accreditation) is only c. 8,600. Additional discussion of BJU and race is UNDUE.--John Foxe (talk) 22:26, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:Neutral point of view#Article structure. Anyway, you are outnumbered on this talk page. Abductive (reasoning) 01:47, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
It's been suggested in the past that the article structure be more chronological; but as I said then, and repeat now, the problems of doing that, in my opinion, outweigh the benefits. Most folks come to this page with something in mind, and I think a section of "controversies" fits the bill for most. Certainly, it's impossible simply to drop in a single non-contextualized sentence saying, in effect, "These guys are racist jerks" and expect that to be accepted by the community as NPOV.--John Foxe (talk) 16:25, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
They were racists and didn't allow interracial dating until <you tell me>. Abductive (reasoning) 21:06, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
All the details are right there in the article. Take a look.--John Foxe (talk) 01:09, 31 May 2014 (UTC)

History and criticism[edit]

On Wikipedia we are encouraged to "avoid having a separate section in an article devoted to criticism" (see WP:CRIT), and this article got to the imbalanced point where the Criticism section had 18k characters compared to only 1k in the History section. The criticism is a part of the university's history and should be presented in an NPOV light. Likewise, some of the detail is best presented in a dedicated History (see WP:SS). I've made an attempt at addressing these issues by creating History of Bob Jones University, which preserves a lot of the outstanding research that's been done previously while trying to restore balance to this article. —Eustress 20:00, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

My argument has always been "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." What I find most annoying about the rewrite is that unrelated things are thrown together because they happened at about the same time. Some "paragraphs" are composed of completely unrelated ideas.--John Foxe (talk) 23:13, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
A "B" on the quality scale typically (depends on each WikiProject) means there are still issues of content and style to be addressed. The chronological order of the History helps preserve NPOV and is consistent with the WP:UNI exemplars, or FAs. —Eustress 00:30, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
I don't know how you can reconcile emphasis on chronology in this article with creating a whole new article called History of Bob Jones University that ignores chronology.
Let's take some time and point up chronological change where it's applicable. Otherwise it will appear that we are trying to shunt off important material that folks will be looking for here.--John Foxe (talk) 15:45, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
I think the material has now been organized with a considered balance between chronology and topicality. Emphasis on straight chronology can astray in a dozen ways, not even counting making readability more difficult.--John Foxe (talk) 19:11, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
The precedent established by WP:UNI favors chronological ordering and spinning off details into a dedicated history article, and the consensus here supports this viewpoint:
  1. User:Abductive called for chronological order (see diff)
  2. User:Llama36 and User:Quintucket called to restore balance to the article per WP:UNDUE (see diff)
You're failing to get the point and I'm worried that you're exhibiting ownership tendencies again. —Eustress 20:34, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
I support User:Eustress. User:John Foxe should be concerned, lest it appears that he is attempting to "bury the lead" on the embarrassing racism exhibited by the institution. Abductive (reasoning) 20:46, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
I'm sorry that User:Eustress has eliminated a number of improvements to the article out-of-hand. I'm willing to go with his basic outline, but in his haste he has reintroduced errors of fact.--John Foxe (talk) 21:03, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
I've now tweaked the section and eliminated the errors.--John Foxe (talk) 22:46, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
You are acting against consensus. Abductive (reasoning) 23:43, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

COI investigation[edit]

FYI, there is a COI investigation pertaining to this article at Wikipedia:Conflict_of_interest/Noticeboard#Bob_Jones_University. —Eustress 23:03, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

As an update, an ANI inquiry has been launched subsequent to the COI investigation. —Eustress 21:54, 18 December 2014 (UTC)

Lead text[edit]

A few editors including myself have sought to remove the following text from the lead on grounds of POV/boosterism.

Based on the sources recently provided, I don't think they substantiate any claim about the uni's religion/culture/politics resulting in unduly great influence. I think all we're safe to say is something like "The university is known for its conservative religious, cultural, and political stances." —Eustress 23:18, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

Fine. I've made that change.--John Foxe (talk) 23:40, 17 December 2014 (UTC)