Liberty University students share concerns, praise for school president following media reports

By  | 

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) Outside the Montview Student Union Friday, a handful of Liberty University students made their opinions known through signs.

Some read "I trust Jerry." Others said "We Want Change," and "Christian Values do not equal President Falwell."

"I think, especially as a Christian university, that we need to hold our leaders to a higher standard," said Jonah Lackey, a Liberty University student who said he wants "accountability" from his school's top administrator.

The demonstrations come after several national media outlets published articles this week about LU President Jerry Falwell Jr. The reports accused Falwell of denigrating students and staff in private e-mails, and manipulating school real estate transactions for his own personal benefit.

"We're calling for an investigation into the administration," said Elizabeth Brooks, an LU student who organized Friday's demonstration against Falwell.

Brooks said she and other students want Falwell to be held accountable for words and behavior they say reflect badly on their university.

"We're not doing this because we hate the school," Brooks explained. "We're not doing this because we're angry. We're doing this because we care deeply and we're passionate about the love of the Lord and what Christ has done here."

"He needs to think and be more prudent about what he says," Lackey said of Falwell. "He needs to hold himself accountable and surround himself with people who will hold him accountable when he does mess up."

While Friday's demonstration was organized by students who have concerns about Falwell, others showed up to voice support.

"If the things Jerry is being accused of are true then yes I'm concerned, but with all of the great things he has done I don't think we should jump to conclusions so easily," remarked LU freshman Garridy Hamilton, who said he trusts Falwell and thinks he's being targeted for his political beliefs.

"I believe there has been an unfair amount of bias against him, simply because he is a Christian Conservative and education is very liberal in this country," Hamilton said.

Falwell was not present for Friday's demonstrations, but he posted a message on social media saying he was "impressed" with how students conducted themselves. He said demonstrators on both sides were respectful.

WDBJ7 reached out to Falwell for an interview regarding this week's events. He did not respond to our request.