Bob Jones president resigns, accuses board chair of thwarting Title IX complaint

by | Apr 6, 2023 | Religion

Bob Jones University President Steve Pettit in 2019. Photo via BJU(RNS) — The president of Bob Jones University, a prominent South Carolina evangelical school, has resigned, citing dysfunction and disunity on the school’s board of trustees.
His resignation, which takes effect at the end of the academic year, came less than four months after he signed a three-year contract.
In a press release announcing his planned departure, Pettit gave thanks for students and staff at the schools.
“It has been one of the greatest privileges of my life to serve as the president of Bob Jones University,” Pettit said in the release, according to the Greenville News. “My memories of the wonderful people, the incredible student body, and the perpetual blessings of God will linger with me throughout the rest of my life.”
But his resignation letter, dated March 23, tells a different story.
In the letter, published on a blog run by a former Jones faculty member, Pettit details his clashes with the chair of the school’s board of trustees­­­ and Pettit’s concerns about the school’s finances. The letter also alleges the board chair tried to interfere with a Title IX investigation at the school.
According to the letter, a member of the board of trustees allegedly complained that the clothing worn by female students, including athletes, accentuated their “boobs and butts.” That trustee also allegedly took photos of female students without permission.
“I don’t know if these allegations are true or not, but our obligation was (and is) to treat them the same way we would any other allegations, and in February, the Trustees agreed to refer the matter to the Title IX coordinator.”

The letter alleges the chair of the board tried to stall the Title IX investigation and manipulate its outcome.
Pettit said in his letter that he hoped his reelection for a three-year term as president meant he and the board could work in a unified manner. But that proved not to be the case.
“After much prayer and consideration, however, I have decided that I cannot continue to serve as President of Bob Jones University if Dr. John Lewis remains Chairman of the Board,” Pettit wrote, adding that if nothing changed by the end of March, he would resign.
A university spokesman confirmed Pettit’s resignation will be effective as of May 5. The spokesman declined to comment on the particulars of Pettit’s allegations about the board or the Title IX complaint.
“Bob Jones University takes seriously its obligations under Title IX as it relates to all students, faculty, staff, and volunteers,” Randy Page, chief of staff for the office of the president, said in an email. “Our Title IX Coordinator follows university policies and Title IX regulations to analyze any complaint, an …

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