November 09, 2012

Bob Jones University Appoints Ombuds

The private, for-profit, Protestant university in South Carolina has retained an independent organization, GRACE, to serve as an Ombudsman, "to review past instances in which it is alleged that the University underserved a [sexual abuse] victim or did not comply with the law in handling reports of abuse."

GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) is a non-profit organization based in Lynchburg, VA that consults with congregations and other Christian organizations in developing effective child abuse prevention programs.

Dr. Stephen Jones, BJU President, explained that the decision was motivated by desire to make absolutely certain the university's policies and procedures both fully comply with the law and ensure a loving, scripturally based response. According to a university announcement, GRACE will have a specific focus and investigatory powers: 
During the coming weeks, GRACE will finalize its procedures for collecting data from individuals who feel they were underserved by BJU when they reported abuse. Upon finalizing its procedures, GRACE will notify BJU who will post on its website procedures for contacting GRACE. GRACE has informed BJU that the independent investigation will begin immediately after the new year. At that time, GRACE will act independently of the University and work directly with any possible complainants. 
It does not appear that GRACE has served as an Ombuds before and few other details have been announced.  (BJU News.)

Clearly, this is not a program that will follow the prevailing best practices for Ombuds in higher education.


  1. Why is this here? Doesn't seem relevant to Organizational Ombuds work.
    -Angry Ombuds

  2. -An apparently more angry ombuds11/09/2012 8:29 PM

    I think it's important to keep tabs on organizations that implement what they term "ombuds" but are absolutely not that at all. It is frustrating when administrators fail to research (or worse, completely ignore) internationally recognized professional standards. It is a slap in the face to our profession and should motivate us to develop program certifications in addition to practitioner certification.