Liberty University promises: Where are they six months later?

Published: May. 4, 2022 at 5:43 PM EDT
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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - It’s been six months since changes were announced for Liberty University.

During an early November convocation, President Jerry Prevo stood in front of the student body and said blue light call boxes were heading to Liberty along with a multi-million-dollar network of cameras. Additionally, a third-party audit of the university’s Title IX offices was promised on the night of November 4.

“It will be put into motion. It will be,” Prevo told WDBJ7 that night. The next day, an official announcement on the matter was made.

The promises came months after a multi-plaintiff lawsuit was filed against the university, alleging Title IX failures of Liberty.

People at LU have eagerly awaited change since the announcements were made, but if you ask students like Hailey Wilkinson, they’ve seen little to no action so far.

“We have not heard anything from the school, so as of now it just sounds like empty promises from Prevo,” said Wilkinson, who is a part of Liberty Student Against Abuse, formerly known as Justice for Janes.

Wilkinson says rumors have swirled about things happening, but she says nothing concrete has been shared with her or others from LU leaders.

“They don’t really care about our safety,” said Wilkinson. “As a female specifically, it’s very scary.”

Kendall Covington is a student representative of the organization Save71, a group advocating for reform at the university.

She says there needs to be a culture change from the top down to help women feel safe and comfortable with reporting incidents.

“That structure isn’t going to help any women unless they know that the people at the top care about them,” said Covington.

Despite their concerns, a Liberty spokesperson told WDBJ7 that everything promised before is coming along.

In an email, they said everything “is moving forward, but these processes take time to do correctly. Liberty University is still undergoing a very thorough independent review of the Title IX policies and processes that should be concluded before long. As of right now, there are no new details ready to be shared publicly. As for the independent review, once a final report has been completed, Liberty will likely share a material summary of those findings at the appropriate time.”

The university did not specify who is doing the audit and Liberty University president Jerry Prevo declined WDBJ7′s request for an on-camera interview for this story.

Throughout this process, transparency is a key point students feel is lacking.

“Seeing we have not heard anything, that’s not very transparent,” said Wilkinson.

With safety still an issue at the forefront.

“Do you feel any safer now than six months ago?” WDBJ7 asked Covington. “No,” she said.

The university is undergoing an investigation by the Department of Education, something they also experienced in 2010 before making a settlement in 2013.

The current investigation comes after additional lawsuits against the university.

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