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Bob Jones Spells Out Dating Policy

Bob Jones University may have dropped its official ban on interracial dating, but that doesn't mean students can begin crossing racial lines just yet.

The school's president announced Tuesday that students who want to date students of other races will need a note from their parents.

"We will carry out the will of your parents,'' school President Bob Jones III said Monday. "They will need to have a say in this.''

Jones announced the school's decision to drop its ban on interracial dating during an appearance on CNN's Larry King Live on Friday night.

Monday, Jones told nearly 4,000 students at a daily chapel service that they must tell their parents if they become involved in an interracial relationship.

Parents must send a letter to the dean of men or women approving the relationship before the school will allow it, Jones said.

He brought up the topic at the chapel service by saying he thinks most people view interracial marriage as an unwise decision.

"I think that's evidenced by the fact that so few people are interracially married,'' Jones said. "When you date interracially or marry interracially, it cuts you off from people.''

The policy was implemented in the 1950s to prevent Asians and whites from dating. Blacks were not admitted to the school until 1970.

Jones said he contacted King's producer last week because he felt he would be treated fairly on the show. He based that on his last interview with King in the late 1970s when the school was involved in a court battle to keep its federal tax exemption.

Bob Jones University lost its exemption in 1983 when the U.S. Supreme Court said the ban on interracial dating violated federal policy.

The school was thrust into the spotlight again last month when Texas Gov. George W. Bush brought his Republican presidential campaign to the school.

Bush was later criticized by rivals Alan Keyes and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., for failing to criticize the interracial dating ban during his speech.

Students had a mixed reaction to Monday's announcement.

Eunice Arvizu, a 19-year-old freshman from Mexico, thinks parents should be involved in dating decisions.

"The Lord uses our parents to let us know what he wants for us,'' she said.

Joe Ignacio, a 22-year-old senior from Guam, said Jones made a smart move in changing the policy.

"We looked like idiots in front of the nation,'' Ignacio said. "I would've preferred they do away with the ban (completely), but I realize this is Bob Jones.''

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