Liberty University chair Jerry Falwell Jr. said that he's reopening the university despite orders to lock down the city of Lynchburg, Virginia. Falwell said that he got not only permission but thanks for doing so. According to the city, however, they were "misled," the Daily Beast reported.
“They thanked us for making that decision,” Falwell told the Liberty University News Service about the call he had with the city. He claimed that it would be about moving classes online, but also get his students “back as soon as we can—the ones who want to come back.”
Lynchburg city manager Bonnie Svrcek told the Daily Beast that she did thank Falwell for moving to online classrooms, but she was led to believe that the school was not inviting students back to in-person classes and into residence halls after the spring break.
"Neither she nor Lynchburg Mayor Treney Tweedy said they signed off on Falwell’s decision to re-open Liberty’s dorms," the report said.
Falwell told Svrcek and Mayor Tweedy that his school would "move to an online platform." That was it.
“He added that some food services would remain open for on-campus international students who have not gone home and some lab classes and the school of aviation will continue,” Svrcek said. “The mayor and I thanked him for this shift that we believed meant that students would be told to not come back to campus with a few exceptions.”
“It seems like [Falwell] wants everything to be open pretty quickly, following Trump. I saw this morning that [Trump] wants businesses to reopen,” said one anonymous Liberty senior. “Jerry literally follows anything that Trump says.”
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam already announced a ban on large gatherings and ordered that there can be no more than 10 patrons in restaurants, fitness centers, and theatres at one time.
"I hope that everyone will have the common sense to stay home tonight and in the days ahead," said Northam. "This order will ensure that state and local officials have the tools they need to keep people safe".
After some work, Svrcek finally got Falwell to agree to give students an option to away. Then three days later Liberty University changed again.
At this point, no one knows what the university is doing.