UPDATE ON PROMISE PAPER

I thought some of you might be interested in how my senior paper research is going. Here’s an update:

1. I wrote to various officers of Administration, asking about the Forsake Me Not endowment. Mr. Randy Page replied that these things are confidential, but that I could be assured that “monies from the Forsake Me Not endowment continue to benefit retirees.” I have yet to hear from any of these happy people.

2. I have heard from some unhappy retirees.

3. I have heard from some frightened current faculty, afraid for their jobs. “Is my job secure?” No. “Are they all done firing people they no longer want to care for?” No.

(You ask why people would ask me this. Probably because to ask the Administration is to put you on a bad list. Be aware that a dear friend of mine, Rebecca Davis, an author with BJUP, recently received notice that one of her books, Fanny Crosby, Queen of Gospel Songs, has been taken out of print. Inquiring, Mrs. Davis learned that Fanny had sold almost a thousand copies in the past year. Many of my books sell far far worse than this, and yet I have not yet received notice that they are being taken out of print. Is it because Mrs. Davis wrote a letter to Dr. Bob III discussing her concerns for the school that her book was taken out of print when it sells much better than many other BJUP titles? The point is, bringing up issues to Admin can and may result in backlash. Just sayin’.)

You have to buy this on Amazon.com or eBay now.

4. I have learned that the “profit-sharing” plan was never that. The accounts are not tied to the profitability of the Press. Apparently the Press is quite profitable, and perhaps the money for the retirement accounts comes from there, but it is not a profit-sharing plan (this info from a BJU Business Office source, and no, you don’t get to know who).

Rather, the plan is one in which the U contributes to your account annually “as the Lord prospers.” With enrollment on the downhill, one wonders how that’s going. I haven’t received specifics on, say, this year’s contribution.

5. A friend with a PhD in mathematics is working on some numbers for me. I’m on pins and needles waiting patiently. The question I posed to him is what the dollar disparity is between the Promised “food, housing, health insurance, and small retirement salary” and what is being received.

6. I would like to know if Faculty and Staff are still forbidden from seeking outside employment. In the past, even a lowly $6/hour staff worker (me) was forbidden from having a second job at McDonalds, because such action by me “indicated God was not supplying your needs through the school.” (Three people at Varsity Village–one in the ES, one in the U, living on $6/hour.)

(I’m not angry about that, just curious if employees are still forbidden from flipping burgers on the side. We were also forbidden to hold hands on campus, as “What would the students think?” My answer was, “They’ll think we’re married.” This rule was dumped when Stephen and Erin married.)

7. I have received documentation detailing the U’s disavowing of the Promise and coincident move to the Retirement Account system. I now understand the “Disappearing Promise” percentage system. Very clear is the truth that if you are still working there, you are going to be living on Social Security payments unless you have other sources of future income. Alert your children that you might need them. They have BJU degrees, so they can afford to keep you. Right?

8. Hence, my question about outside employment.

More awful than any of this (if anything is much more dreadful than the FACT that old people are living on about a thousand dollars a month in Social Security with the–bonanza!–added “bonus” of discounted meals at the Aramark Feeding Center, bolstered by roughly $100 in “housing stipend.”) is the growing fear I have that the whole thing might be and have always been nothing more and nothing less than a Family Business.

Was the “investment” in the Art Gallery to protect the Family and Close Friends in the event of rainy days? Is the reach into Chinese education just another potential family stream of income?

This keeps me up nights.

You see, for over 30 years I have been defending my school. Bartosch knocked me off my perch, but I was still at least a little bit willing to think, “Ah, c’mon, that was a lifetime ago, and what’s a little prostitution between friends?”

But then I started wondering if Dr. Lewis was making it all up. I mean, think about it: either she is or they are. Period.

So I started reading. Dr. Turner’s book, Standing Without Apology, floored me. Aside from being badly written and lacking any apparent editor (an editor would have slashed half of it)*, it is full of admissions: yes, BJ Senior agreed with the Klan; yes, we hated the idea of integration; yes, we yelled at people to get them to do our will; yes, we threatened fellow believers with lawsuits; yes, we allowed a spoiled rotten mean kid to inherit the farm, buy up pictures stolen by Nazis and star in every single play; yes, we fired anyone who disagreed with us; yes, we sold bonds and then failed to pay on them, then ran out of Florida in a 400-mile dash to Tennessee; yes, we bullied the City of Greenville into raising money to buy us our campus; yes, after going to England with Junior, a woman had a mental and physical breakdown and had to go home for nine months! Immediately after, he married Fanny Mae.

(Oh, knock it off. I’m just telling you what’s in SWA. Don’t blame me.)

Further I read. Further I learned. Yes, Dr. III did say homosexuals should be rounded up and stoned. Yes, Dr. III did say on Larry King that the Dating Rule was no big deal to anyone. Never mind it was a firing/expulsion offense to be in favor of interracial dating. Yes, Dr. III did say “the negro is best when serving at table.” Yes, Stephen Jones did reply to me personally that there was nothing he could do about Dr. McCauley’s firing when it is clear in black-and-white in the confidential Board Handbook (so people send me things, what of it?) that the President has complete discretion in hiring and firing personnel.

And on and on and on and on…and on.

So I began my own project. Only because I had to–I have to write about some matter of legal significance. I spoke with current faculty. I spoke with retired faculty. I spoke with fired faculty. I am still speaking. I am still asking.

My paper is not due until late November, and I am committed to writing and rewriting it with new information as that becomes available.

Very likely, when my paper is done, I will not be done looking closely at BJU. Very closely. I have friends there, friends who, if they are not careful, are going to be in the position of a lady I recently spoke to–she and her husband had a combined 75 years of service at BJU. Her “retirement”? Social security, $140 a month for housing, and a discount on meals. Of course, she has to drive to the Dining Common to get them. So if she wants to save money and buy groceries, too bad for her.

Stories and documents trickle in. I welcome them. I hope for more.

Write me at sharonhambrick@hotmail.com

* Apologies to the editor. I know you (whoever you are) worked under “guidelines.” Furthermore, there was probably a rush to get this book out for the 75th. I have long experience with the skilled editors at BJUP. They have always only helped my manuscripts. I do not blame them for the sloppiness of SWA.