Liberty University Alumni Are Returning Their Diplomas (And I Don't Blame Them)

Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, smiles as he listens to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, at a rally Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016, in Council Bluffs, Iowa. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

I’m not going to do this. I worked far too hard for my degrees, as well as the pieces of paper that confirm my efforts. I do, however, completely understand where my fellow Liberty University alumni are coming from.


A small group of Liberty U alumni, disgusted with Jerry Falwell Jr’s unwavering support of President Trump, have decided to send a message by returning their diplomas.

Students with Liberty first attempted to speak out against what they saw as an alliance that was not in line with the schools stated values – Training champions for Christ – in late 2016. A group of students calling themselves Liberty United Against Trump wrote a letter to the school, asking Falwell to end his support of then-candidate Trump.

“We are Liberty students who are disappointed with President Falwell’s endorsement and are tired of being associated with one of the worst presidential candidates in American history. Donald Trump does not represent our values and we want nothing to do with him.”

“Donald Trump is not just any politician,” the group said in its statement. “He has made his name by maligning others and bragging about his sins. Not only is Donald Trump a bad candidate for president, he is actively promoting the very things that we as Christians ought to oppose.”

They’re exactly right. This letter came right after the release of the Access Hollywood audio, where Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women and getting away with it, because of his wealth.

So what was Falwell’s response?

Falwell called the statement “incoherent and false,”according to the Washington Post.

“This student statement seems to ignore the teachings of Jesus not to judge others but they are young and still learning,” he said in the statement.


Is it any wonder that as things have gotten worse with Trump, there has been no change, and he’s openly celebrating white nationalists now, that former students are ready to show their disgust?

Liberty University, as a voting student body, went overwhelmingly for Senator Marco Rubio during the primaries.

Liberty alumni were watching the president’s reactions to Charlottesville, I’m sure, like everyone else, hoping for some words of hope. They didn’t get that. Falwell Jr’s immediate reaction, however, only pushed things over the edge.

Much later, someone must have got to Falwell and informed him that maybe cheerleading for Dear Leader at such a time wasn’t in anybody’s best interests.

Former students were disgusted.

Chris Gaumer, a former Student Government Association president and 2006 graduate, said it was a simple decision.

“I’m sending my diploma back because the president of the United States is defending Nazis and white supremacists,” Gaumer said. “And in defending the president’s comments, Jerry Falwell Jr. is making himself and, it seems to me, the university he represents, complicit.”


Indeed. Bad company corrupts good character (1 Corinthians 15:33). If Falwell Jr. ever possessed any good character, it’s shot, now.

The letter being sent, explaining the movement to return diplomas reads:

“While this state of affairs has been in place for many months, the Chancellor’s recent comments on the attack upon our neighbors in Charlottesville have brought our outrage and our sorrow to a boiling point. During the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, white supremacists, nationalists, and neo-Nazis perpetrated brutal violence against anti-racist protesters, murdering one woman and injuring many. Instead of condemning racist and white nationalist ideologies, Mr. Trump provided equivocal and contradictory comments. The Chancellor then characterized Mr. Trump’s remarks, which included the claim that some of the persons marching as white nationalists and white supremacists at the rally were ‘very fine people,’ as ‘bold’ and ‘truthful.’ This is incompatible with Liberty University’s stated values, and incompatible with a Christian witness.”

They’re not wrong.

Falwell’s continued, unwavering support for Trump, in the face of everything, is damaging his image, his father’s name, and his father’s legacy, which is the school.

I’ve had more than a couple, when they find out I’m a Liberty University grad make remarks that suggest the stain of Trump had bled through, and now stains me.


Nobody wants that.

Still, Falwell is unrepentant, uncaring, and unconcerned about the school’s reputation or the concerns of students and alumni.

He just keeps proving it.

And this is where I remind everyone that his father was a preacher. His brother is a preacher. Jerry Falwell, Jr. is a lawyer.





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