But Pettit says no one tried to get the university's nonprofit status back from the IRS before he took over in 2014. Supreme Court ruled in 1983 that the IRS revoking Bob Jones University's tax-exempt status was legal because the federal government's efforts to end racial discrimination were greater than the religious school's free speech rights.
Pettit says the university had to create a complicated plan to restore the status.
KING: All right, the concept that a school -- it is a Christian training, in fact, you call it a traditional, Bible believing Christian place, right? We never have tried to, we have never tried to do that. There have been four, five, six generations of students that graduated from there have never heard this preached in our chapel or taught in our school. KING: But it's a rule, though, they know they can't. I met with the administrators this afternoon before coming here. We don't want this to be a -- here is a great institution, one of the premier academic institutions in America, one of the premier Christian colleges of America. And if all anybody can see is this rule, which we never talk about or preach, which most of our students couldn't even tell you what it is. I said to our administration, you know, guys, this thing is of such insignificance to us, it is so significant to the world at large, the media particularly, why should we have this here as an obstacle?
JONES: Sometimes they have a problem, but you know, people from accredited colleges do, too. One of our graduates recently told me that two years ago he went to the University of Virginia medical school, and I said, how many were in your freshman class? The problem we have today is that our principle is so greatly misunderstood.
But the actual reason why the two are not speaking to one another is less understood, especially by the media. If you're a Volvo fan like most readers know, you are going to be excited about the Volvo XC60 news I have for you.
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Bob Jones III, president of the very controversial Bob Jones University is with us for the full hour, and we'll take your calls, next on LARRY KING LIVE. He was originally on my radio show some 17 years ago on a different topic. The truth is, I guess, we have always been controversial. KING: But so much of it has been negative toward you. JONES: No, not really, the peace of God is a wonderful thing, the sovereignty of God is a wonderful thing, and he is in charge. KING: Let's trace a little about the history of the school, your grandfather started it, right? KING: As a reason for starting it, did he feel a need for this? He was an evangelist, a contemporary of Billy Sunday back in the teens and '20s of this country, and as he traveled, he found that young people were having their faith stolen, their morals destroyed at college. So it was not put there as a black thing, I think people need to understand that.
He said, "You know, there needs to be a place where they can get the highest in academics and not come away with their faith destroyed, but strengthened, and their confidence in the Bible strengthened." So he said, "I'm going to start a school." My grandmother said, "Bob, you are crazy," and he said, "Well, I know I'm not an educator, but I can borrow the educational brains." So he did, he knew his limitations. JONES: In education, in religion, and in fine arts. KING: So the fear of one world relates back to two people dating? JONES: It is ended, and I want it to be very clear why it has ended. Bob Jones III, president, Bob Jones University, he's the guest. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: All right, if you joined us late we have just learned as of today, this afternoon, that there is no more ban on interracial dating at Bob Jones University.
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It employs a staff of 1450, offers undergraduate degrees in over a hundred majors, and conducts precollege education from pre-kindergarten through high school. In 2006 there were approximately 1,600 pre-college students.] .
Mission statement and creed Mission statement Within the cultural and academic soil of liberal arts education, Bob Jones University exists to grow Christlike character that is Scripturally disciplined; others-serving; God-loving; Christ-proclaiming; and focused Above.
A conservative Christian university in South Carolina is getting its federal tax-exempt status back 30 years after losing it over a ban on interracial dating.
Bob Jones University President Steve Pettit told The Greenville News ( Pnry ) that the ban was dropped in 2000 and a former university president apologized for discrimination eight years later.