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President Bill Jones Concerned about Threats to

Religious Liberty

Columbia International University President Dr. Bill Jones joined with the presidents

of six other evangelical schools in South Carolina to deliver an open letter to South

Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. The presidents are concerned that federal and state

actions could ultimately deny their schools the ability to fulfill their faith-based

missions and called for vigilance in the protection of religious institutions.

They cited as an example a California bill that as originally introduced, would have

denied college students in that state the ability to participate in state grant programs

if institutions were found in violation of state gender identity policies. The presidents

also warned of the impact of regulatory mandates on churches and educational

institutions that could force students to use bathrooms and showers with members

of the opposite biological sex, even though to do so violates the privacy of students

who may object on the basis of their deeply held religious values.

Gov. Haley responded with a statement that said, “South Carolina has a proud

tradition of upholding religious freedom,” and that she looks “forward to working

with the universities to make sure we continue to honor that tradition.”

Women’s Prison Initiative Celebrates Graduation

A group of 14 female South Carolina prison inmates were encouraged to “allow other

inmates into their lives” so they can share with them “the gospel of our Lord and

Savior Jesus Christ.”

The message came from Peggie Johnson, a long-time mentor and professor to the

women – the second cohort of female student-inmates to graduate from the CIU

Prison Initiative program. Johnson was the commencement speaker at the graduation

June 10 held at the Camille Griffin Graham Correctional Institution located among

the sprawling state corrections facilities directly across the Broad River from the CIU


The CIU Prison Initiative is a two-year, Associate of Arts degree program designed

to prepare inmates for ministry within the state’s prison system. Since the program

began, a total of 124 male and female student-inmates have graduated and are

serving as chaplain’s assistants in many of the Department of Correction’s 23

institutions across the state. About 1,400 South Carolina inmates are female.

It is to these women that Peggie Johnson told the cohort to “grant them access to

you, to your love for God, and your love for one another, because it is written that

they will know that you are His disciples because you have love for one another.”

Unfortunately, CIU Prison Initiative Director Andre Melvin says that “due to

institutional changes and extenuating circumstances,” the CIU Prison Initiative

among women is suspended for the foreseeable future. But he says CIU will still

minister among the female prison population using non-credit Bible studies. The

CIU Prison Initiative among the male inmates continues as normal.

Farnsworth Coaches at

United World Games

Imagine you’re the

coach of a soccer

team that is about

to compete in

an international

tournament. But

you’ve never met

your players. That’s

the situation CIU

Women’s Soccer

Coach Kara

Farnsworth found herself in over the

summer. Not only had she not met the

players, the players had never met each


Farnsworth’s reputation in collegiate

soccer earned her a spot as the coach

of a girls 19-and-under team in the

Olympic-style United World Games

played in Austria in June. The American

team, known as The Stripes (for the

stripes in the U.S. flag) consisted of some

of the top talent among college-bound

girls from across the United States.

“The good news was that by the time the

tournament started they all knew each

other’s names,” Farnsworth said with

a chuckle in her voice, noting also the

quick assessments she had to make to

formulate a winning team.

The Stripes won their first game and

finished third in the tournament.

Coach Kara

Farnsworth (left)

Commencement Speaker Peggie Johnson


CIU Today

Fall 2016