SAVE71: Alumni-led group forms to demand leadership reform at Liberty University

WDBJ7's Ashley Anne reports
Published: Aug. 10, 2020 at 5:31 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Many are asking “what’s next?” now that Jerry Falwell, Jr. is on an indefinite leave from Liberty University.

The school’s Board of Trustees Friday requested Falwell take the leave after he posted a photo to social media showing his pants unzipped and his arm around his wife’s assistant.

Now, there’s a new group pushing for Falwell’s permanent removal.

SAVE71 launched Monday. Its website details years of controversies set off by Liberty University leadership and Falwell. “I don’t think Liberty University has ever experienced a moment like this before,” said alumnus Dustin Wahl.

Wahl co-founded the group with several other LU alumni.

The goal? To lobby the Board of Trustees to permanently remove Falwell; and to appoint an independent committee from within LU to select a successor.

The indefinite removal left students wrestling with what’s next. “The climate I’ve seen has been very heated,” said sophomore John Sharp, who says the student body is divided over the decision. “There seems to be a civil war between students. It just wasn’t the direction we were expecting to take considering the more drastic controversies over the years,” he said.

Controversies are as recent as May, when Falwell posted a photo of a mask with the controversial picture from Governor Ralph Northam’s yearbook.

Some Liberty alumni, staff and students called for Falwell to resign; others left the university altogether.

Wahl says now is the time for LU to move forward. “Liberty needs healing, because there is hurt and division in its community that is directly due to Falwell’s years of poor leadership,” he said.

WDBJ7 reached out to members of the Board of Trustees for clarification on what’s next for the future of leadership. No comment has been made at this time.

For now, Board Chairman Jerry Prevo will act as the President of Liberty University, according to the school.

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