The pro-life community is applauding the decision by Biola University president Barry Corey to apologize to a student who was threatened with expulsion and other retaliatory actions because she displayed on campus graphic pictures of abortions.
The head of the evangelical university, located in the Los Angeles area, issued a public letter last week in which he stated the he had apologized to Diana Jimenez, a nursing student who showed the images in an area of the Biola campus where such displays were not allowed.
A You Tube video showing a testy confrontation between her and the head of Biola security circulated and created a stir among pro-lifers.
The security chief threatened to call the local sheriff and have Jimenez removed.
In addition, Dr. Susan Elliott, then the head of her department at Biola, told faculty not to write job recommendations for Jimenez.
Elliot's directive was overturned and Jimenez was allowed to graduate earlier this year.
She has since retired.
Corey not only apologized, but also affirmed Biola's opposition to abortion. He indicated the school would take steps to emphasize that position on campus in the future, including allowing the use of the kind of photos shown by Jimenez
"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," said Corey.
"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."
The Baptist Press outlined the steps Corey said he would take to stress the long-time pro-life stance held by Biola
Among the ways the school will reaffirm its pro-life position, Corey said, are:
● He will communicate in September through the school newspaper and other means Biola's "current and historic position on the sanctity of life as well as provide a context for the important nature of showing disturbing images portraying victims of injustice."
● Biola will hold a pro-life chapel in which invited speakers "will demonstrate the use of images compassionately, ethically and effectively."
● The school will change its curricula to make certain "each student graduating from Biola understands and can articulate the biblical message of the sanctity of human life, so that students demonstrate these values in their own communities."
The presidents of three pro-life organizations welcomed Corey's letter, according to BP.
"President Corey has confessed Biola's wrongdoing in a humble, frank, and commendable way. And his letter demonstrates the fruit of repentance," said John Ensor of PassionLife Ministries, Scott Klusendorf of Life Training Institute and Marc Newman of Speaker for Life.
"Because of these extraordinary and unprecedented steps, we believe Biola deserves the whole-hearted support of the pro-life community," they wrote in an Aug. 21 letter.
Jill Stanek, a Christian activist who got involved in the pro-life movement when she learned of babies being aborted alive at the hospital where she worked as a nurse, has been supportive of Jimenez and highly critical of Biola.
She welcomed Corey's apology.
"Dr. Corey's letter brought tears to my eyes," she said.
"It is a beautiful Christian example of how to respond when error is recognized and forgiveness and repentance are sought.
"I commend Dr. Corey and Biola for their examples of Christian maturity and the leadership role they are embarking upon among Christian institutions of high learning to stop the atrocity of abortion."