The Origin of White Glove Inspections

M. Irons

During the '70s and into the '80s the Assembly Brothers and Sisters houses were subjected to "spring and fall cleaning", after which a white-glove inspection was carried out by an emissary from Betty G. The origin of this requirement has come to light. At Bob Jones University, from which Betty graduated, dorm rooms were inspected on a daily basis, and once each semester a full scale White Glove inspection was conducted. Here is a description by a 2002 BJU alum:

You do have to pass a room inspection every morning. I wouldn't exactly call it white glove, though. Trash emptied, sink clean-ish, and floor vacuumed as needed. (Keeps the bugs away when you keep the popcorn swept up, you know.)

There is a "White Glove" day on one Saturday each semester--it's kind of a fun day (assuming you aren't in crunch mode with your studies), except everything's spotless instead of trashed when you're done. The White Glove days are once a semester; immediately before Thanksgiving first semester, and about half-way through second semester if I recall correctly. (No, you don't have to clean your post office box--that's a classic practical joke upperclassmen play on the freshmen.)

Back about 20 years ago (1970-ish? or later?), if you didn't pass white glove inspection, your dating privileges for the next formal event--usually an Artist Series concert, opera, or drama--were revoked. That punishment is not dished out anymore. The only "punishment" for failing white glove now is the embarrassment dished out by your peers in your prayer group that evening.

I was told to be very thankful that BJU has carpeting. At one time, all dorm rooms had tile floors--they had to be polished for White Glove inspection. And another former student tells me that before the tile, the floors were just bare concrete (1950s/60s time period?)

So Betty was perpetuating this BJU practice, and many others, on the Assembly. No wonder people feel they were kept in perpetual dependent adolescence in the Assembly. Should a church be conducted like a Christian college that views itself as a substitute parent?

The white-glove inspections were dropped when there were too many training houses to keep up with. But Betty's attitude did not change and people were still treated like adolescents, too immature to make decisions for their own lives.

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