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Bob Jones University Student Suspended And Refused Graduation For Watching GLEE

Bob Jones University a strictly religious and private, for-profit, non-denominational “Protestant” university in Greenville, South Carolina is in the news this week for suspending college senior Christopher Peterman for watching the television program GLEE off campus.

“I was sending my graduation announcements that day. I had them all ready to be put in mail,” said Peterman.  “I had no idea that this was going to happen. They said that the nature of show (GLEE) was so morally wrong. They ended up giving me 50 demerits.”

Peterman said he had to pack up his dorm room and find housing with someone off campus because he was not allowed back on campus.

Bob Jones students are allowed 150 demerits before being suspended from school and Peterman became a blip on Bob Jones radar (and hit list) in Novemeber of 2011 when he stated a group called  “Do Right BJU”.

After that the University forced Peterman  to start attending counseling with the dean of men after Christmas break. He was required to read entire books of the Bible every day and write out devotions.

Bob Jones students are allowed 150 demerits before being suspended from school. He said the demerits started small for things like not shaving, returning to his dorm late, Facebook violations and forgetting to make his bed.

Peterman said the infractions got bigger until he topped out at 170 demerits last week. But t claims less than half are legitimate.

According to Peterman acquaintance Lara McClintok:

(We) were concerned that he would be targeted after the protest, and he was. I read the accounts of what was happening to him each week, and it was ugly. The Dean of Men was horribly insulting to him. It was pretty obvious the school was just trying to catch him tripping up so they could get rid of the protester once and for all. If this is how the school treats a loyal student with a legitimate concern (which he was and did have), the school needs to shut its doors. When GLEE is considered a bigger sin than having a board member who knowingly covered up a rape, it’s time to quit calling the school Christian. 

And this is far from the first scandal at the so called “Christian University”

BJU did not enroll black students until 1971, eight years after the University of South Carolina and Clemson University had been integrated by court order. From 1971 to 1975, BJU admitted only married blacks, although the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had already determined in 1970 that “private schools with racially discriminatory admissions policies” were not entitled to federal tax exemption.  BJU fought back saying that University met all other criteria for tax-exempt status and that the school’s racial discrimination was based on sincerely held religious beliefs, that “God intended segregation of the races and that the Scriptures forbid interracial marriage

In 1976, the Internal Revenue Service notified the university that its tax exemption had been revoked  and had to pay back taxes retroactively back to 1970 which totaled more than a million dollars.

When BJU did start to admit single black students it instituted an “no interracial dating rule.” which it dropped only 12 years ago in the year 2000 during a visit from then presidential candidate George W. Bush because of the media attention it garnered.

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, journalist and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story,

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