Former Bob Jones University students describe experience, exit from evangelical college

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Two weeks after he publicly came out as gay, former Bob Jones University student Andrew Pledger heard a knock on his door.

It was his final semester of his senior year. He was resting in his dorm room during the evening hours.

A university official stood outside and told the then-21-year-old to make his way to the official’s office for a meeting. He could see the writing on the wall. He knew he was about to be expelled from the private, evangelical institution.

His inclination was correct.

A year later, in the first week of July 2023, Pledger sat in his Greenville home with 17 former Bob Jones University students and two faculty members. They were, collectively, attempting to flesh out what they had in common.

Several of the attendees belonged to the LGBTQ+ community and went to the university at different points over the past three decades. Most of them grew up in fundamentalist households, were homeschooled, or had parents who met and married while at the Greenville-based university.

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