Last November, I presented a paper at the annual National Communication Association convention analyzing Bob Jones University’s recent statement on race based on my theory of romantic separation. I argued that rather than a standard apologia, theirs was more a code duello. My paper begins to round-out the dramatistic theory of romance. In fact, all the papers in that panel were a rounding-out of my theory of Burkean romance. 🙂
BJU’s rhetoric is more Lost Cause than we (especially Northern) 21st-century listeners might readily perceive. In their drama, God is not an active participant. He’s not even a goal that we might wish to reach someday. No, He’s he’s simply our pit bull — our vicious, Old-Testament force which will scare people back into shape for the sake of preserving that old patrician hierarchy. In sum, God god is not an actor, not an ultimate idealistic purpose, but simply the frightening and preservationist means for the socially successful.
And just this week, a new text plops into my inbox proving the same drama.
The BJU buzz this week swirled around two stories. One, Jim Berg is making a lateral move from the admin building to the seminary come July with Eric Newton taking his place as Dean of Students. Secondly, Bob Jones University finally sanctions its students to use Facebook — even on campus. The new liberty, however, comes with a set of regulations which I’ve cited below. Do you see the romantic drama that I see? Who’s the Actor in the text? What’s the Act? Where or under what conditions is s/he acting? And why? And how?
Another way of asking that is — where’s God in this? Notice that the reason for all the rules is to benefit Bob Jones University, not Christ or the Church. It all centers around BJU’s reputation and preserving that hierarchy.
Social Media Guidelines
Guidelines for Participating in Social Media
A Christian’s use of social media, like any other form of communication, can reflect positively or negatively on his Christian testimony. The guidelines below are common sense principles that will help a Christian maintain a consistent testimony when communicating with others.
- Social media are public forums; there are no private social media sites. Post only information that you are comfortable having many people, including potential future employers, read about you.
- Avoid posting personal information such as your address, phone number, etc., that could make you a target for identity theft.
- Post worthwhile information that adds value; avoid self-promotion and information of limited interest.
- Assume personal responsibility for what you post. Make sure it is accurate. Secure permission before citing another person. Respect copyright laws. Do not post proprietary information, including course syllabi, lecture notes or material on course pages. Cite references, and when you do so, acknowledge the source. Keep in mind that you are legally liable for what you post.
- Identify yourself by your real name and write in the first person. If you identify yourself as a student or faculty/staff member of BJU, be clear that you speak for yourself, not BJU. Keep in mind that what you post will reflect on BJU. As appropriate, add a disclaimer that indicates the content of your site represents your views and does not represent the opinions or positions of BJU.
- Respect your audience. Avoid abusive, slanderous, complaining, profane, irreligious, blasphemous or tale-bearing speech.
- Follow biblical principles when posting on your personal site: communications should be edifying.
- Do not post photos of children or students under 18 without prior parental permission in writing.
- Take the high ground and avoid picking fights. Do not respond to posts critical of you or the University if posting will prolong discussion. If you post information in error, be the first to correct your mistakes.
- Delay posting if you are angry or upset about an issue as this is the time when you are most likely to post information you later regret.
- If you alter a previous post, indicate that you made a modification.
Guidelines for Establishing/Maintaining a BJU Social Media Site
- BJU departments and pre-college schools wanting a social media site are to provide Internet Marketing with the goal(s) for the site, a brief three to six-month plan for how the site will be used and who will post and monitor information. Internet Marketing will launch the site, secure the handle and turn over the site to the existing department. This procedure will ensure there is a record of all “official” sites and that site names are appropriate and consistent. BJU Press departments should direct requests to Interactive Marketing.
- Official sites require time and people resources. In conjunction with setting goals, establish metrics for your site to continually measure its effectiveness. Keep in mind that effectiveness is not always measured by number of followers.
- Student groups such as the Collegian, UBA, etc., are free to establish sites as long as the faculty advisor monitors the site.
- Understand that a department site will bring negative and positive feedback; value the negative feedback and use it to improve as appropriate.
- Provide timely responses.
- In speaking on behalf of the University, be familiar with FERPA regulations and avoid disclosing personal information about a student.
- Avoid articulating positions contrary to the public position of BJU.
- Avoid using an official BJU site to endorse a cause, product or political candidate.
- Keep in mind that you may see student posts that reveal questionable activity or activity contrary to BJU student policies. Use this as an opportunity for dirtyhanded discipleship.
- Faculty and staff should limit access to personal sites during work hours to interactions with students.
- When posting photos, ensure people in the photos meet the dress code for the activity involved. Do not post photos of children or students under 18 without prior parental approval in writing.
- If a question arises you cannot answer, do not try to answer it. Find the appropriate person who can answer.
- Follow the University’s general guidelines for participating in social media.