An Open letter to President Mark Jobe on behalf of the Moody Bible Institute community

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Dear President Mark Jobe,

            As Students, Alumni, and parents of Moody Bible Institute, we write to you hoping to be received with an open heart to the issues we bring before you, issues we feel have gotten in the way of Moody’s goal to educate students to think biblically, live Christianly, and serve the Church effectively. When you began your tenure as President, you stated you hoped people would be able to find not just a degree, but a calling on the campuses and within the community of Moody Bible Institute. We share that desire—some of us found our callings here, some of us seek it on campus as we speak, some of us watched our children grow into men and women of God during their time at Moody. While many of us have found God and His calling on our lives within the walls of Moody, some of us have also faced harm. Harm that includes instances of stalking, discrimination, sexual assault, and rape. These harms were made worse when members of our community in positions of authority, specifically Dean Arens, seem to have an inability or unwillingness to act to address them. While we have no desire to malign individuals out of spite, we feel it must be addressed that a few individuals who have been tasked with protection of Moody students have failed. 

In our conversations with our classmates, we were deeply saddened to hear common themes of dismissal, cover up, and even disciplinary action being taken against survivors of abuse, after they risked so much to come forward. It is essential that Moody students are able to trust the leaders of this campus with their safety, and sadly for some, that has not been the case with Dean Arens, despite his capacity and responsibility to keep all students safe. Additionally, other people with responsibilities to students both legal and moral, failed to ensure the safety of students, at times instead seeking to discipline survivors. The stories we gathered from survivors brave enough to come forward and share their stories, which can be found explained in detail here.

We are coming forward with this letter, not out of bitterness or spite, but because we hope to find real solutions to our communal problems. We hope your heart is soft enough to hear and consider the trauma and pain we have endured. We hope we can move forward together.

As relational beings created in the imago dei, our personhood and relationships are reflective of the way in which God relates to Himself. The triune relationality of God offers a framework for how God’s creation is to relate to each other.

God is the creator of life and possibility; He is a creator of relationships and relationality. To disgrace a relationship with perversity is not only an act against a fellow member of creation, but of the creator Himself and the relationships He intended.

Moody Bible Institute must do all in its power to defend their fellow image-bearers. We must stand together and value each other’s dignity and thus respect our creator. God is the creator of possibility. But if the possibility we are creating amongst each other is one of pain and abuse, we are not acting in accordance with the very nature of our God.

We feel that the steps outlined below will help our community address the harms that have been caused, which will then lead to healing.  These steps will also ensure that we come out a stronger community, one where reconciliation is possible because responsibility is taken when harm is caused, and justice is served when necessary. We are calling on you, President Jobe, to hold the leaders of this campus to a higher standard, and to take steps to rebuild trust with the students, alumni, and parents.

We are clear that some of what we are asking you to do goes beyond what is required by law. However, we feel these are the steps necessary to rebuild trust that has been broken, foster forgiveness and reconciliation, and move us forward to a Moody Bible Institute that is a safe place for all students to pursue God’s calling on their lives.

________

We are calling on you to:

1.      Create a process for Student and Alumni voices to be considered in the naming of a new Dean of Students to replace Dean Arens.

2.      Replace Rachel Puente as the Title IX coordinator and create a process for Student and Alumni voices to be considered in the naming of a new Title IX coordinator.

3.      Remove any Title IX decision makers who also have disciplinary powers (as Title IX requires), and replace them with impartial members of our community who can evaluate Title IX claims without considering potential disciplinary measures for the reporter.

4.      Annually publish Title IX complaints made, with identifying details redacted, in a way accessible to Moody students, Alumni, and parents.

We believe these steps will help restore trust and put systems in place to ensure accountability and safety moving forward. We are open to meeting with you as well to discuss how we move forward together.

Sincerely,

The Moody Bible Institute community

*Current students and Alumni, please put your years attended/graduated in the comments section of your signature 

**If you are a survivor with a story to share please reach out to us at MBISurvivors@gmail.com. Stories will be kept anonymous upon request.