A Christian university has publicly apologized for its response to a pro-life student and make a complete turnaround on its actions, detailing how it will work to promote an active pro-life culture in line with the university’s vision and mission.
In June, we told you about Biola University nursing student Diana Jimenez whose eyes were opened to the reality of abortion and immediately responded on campus with a pro-life group, but after only four students showed up for the meeting, she proceeded to try to awaken others with the use of images. This got her in a heap of trouble, including threat of arrest, and threat of having her career hurt when the nursing department head Susan Elliot directed the faculty not to write Jimenez a letter of recommendation, despite her being a student in good standing.
Barry H. Corey, Biola University’s president wrote this letter to the public. He says:
I want to acknowledge publicly that there were missteps made in our response to Diana. For this we apologize to the public as I have privately to Diana. In the days and weeks following this incident, we have thought about where and how we could have and should have done things differently. In turn, we have taken corrective steps. Diana’s passion for the unborn was not the reason she was asked to remove the photographs. For actions on our part that were perceived to be heavy-handed and retaliatory, I have apologized to her and stand by this apology publicly. I acknowledge and regret our errors, and steps have been taken to correct them. As a result, the leadership of Biola is addressing our policies and procedures to avoid a reoccurrence of this type of situation.
In so many ways, Diana is the kind of student with the deep Christian convictions I hoped to see when I came to Biola six years ago. In her convictions about saving the unborn, she represents what Biola is about—the desire to speak up against injustices that break the heart of God. Like Diana, Biola is and has been passionately pro-life.
Corey is to be commended for choosing the high road in the face of public outcry, which came from both sides. The university could have used this moment to cave to the culture and choose to assimilate into an intellectual community that says only the less intelligent do not value “choice.” This was a turning point for a respected Christian institution which has been known for producing true intellectual thinkers; Biola took the right road, not simply making a token apology but making a repeat turn for the better.
The outcry from the pro-life community was harsh and angry, but it turns out, Biola was listening even then. According to the Life Training Institute, an organization led by pro-life thinkers and authors, John Ensor, M.Div., President, PassionLife Ministries, Scott Klusendorf, M.A., President, Life Training Institute, and Marc T. Newman, Ph.D., President, Speaker for Life:
What they did not know was that over the past seven weeks, we had been working with Biola leadership as they acknowledged mistakes and expressed their desire to help craft a better policy. With the release of a letter from President Corey – apologizing to Diana Jimenez publicly and to the pro-life community generally –we are now in a position to publicly comment.
Among other comments, one important one that the pro-life leaders make is this:
Ultimately, the problem at Biola was not about the university’s statement of faith regarding the sanctity of human life. The real problem at Biola was that a fourth-year nursing student could complete that program, yet remain totally unaware of the grisly reality of abortion or the persuasive arguments that support a pro-life perspective. It took exposure to those images, displayed at a student-sponsored pro-life event which drew only a handful of participants, to awaken her to the need to rouse her fellow students to action. And if Diana’s ignorance of abortion was typical in Nursing, what about students in Music, Communication, English, or Biblical Studies?
As a Christian university, Biola understands confession, repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation and restoration. President Corey has confessed Biola’s wrongdoing in a humble, frank, and commendable way. And his letter demonstrates the fruit of repentance. Specifically, he firmly states that Biola University will make sure that no student graduates without fully understanding the rationale behind the sanctity of human life, which is one of Biola’s theological distinctives.
Please read the entire letter from President Corey for details of the specific actions the university will take, working in partnership with others, to ensure their students are trained in being true thinkers who understand what life is, despite a culture that says otherwise.
President Corey and Biola University have demonstrated the reality of Christianity with their actions. Because of this every student that matriculates through Biola University will be educated in truth and Christianity at a deeper level than before. True Christianity is thinking Christianity. Biola has always espoused this view, and in the light of conflict chose not to cower but to be courageous.