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Liberty University professor begs Jerry Falwell Jr not to reopen campus: ‘His current plan is courting a disaster’

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Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. has resisted shutting down the campus in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak. In an op-ed published at Religion News Service LU English professor Marybeth Davis Baggett, writes that Falwell Jr.’s “foolhardy decision” is reflective of his “conspiratorial thinking about COVID-19 and smacks of defiance.”

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“He has repeatedly made clear that he canceled residential classes for legal, not moral, reasons. In fact, his public comments on the pandemic have manifested bravado, self-congratulation, and callousness in the extreme, as he even this week on the Todd Starnes radio show spewed far-fetched, unsubstantiated, and misleading information about the coronavirus outbreak.”

“For one charged with leading a Christian institution of higher learning, these are troubling qualities, fundamentally at odds with both Christian faith convictions and an academic mindset,” she added. “For a leader dealing with such a situation of such magnitude, they are outright terrifying.”

Baggett writes that she has no animus towards Falwell Jr, but he “simply should not have a monopoly on this decision.”

“I think he is dangerously wrong here and seems unable or unwilling to recognize it,” she continues. “For that reason, the decision must be taken out of his hands. I speak up for his benefit as well, since his current plan is courting a disaster for which he would be primarily to blame.”

Nevertheless, thousands of students are expected to return to LU this week. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Falwell Jr. has invited students to return to their dorms and has directed faculty members to continue to come to work.

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“I think we have a responsibility to our students — who paid to be here, who want to be here, who love it here — to give them the ability to be with their friends, to continue their studies, enjoy the room and board they’ve already paid for and to not interrupt their college life,” Falwell said.

There are plenty of students who share Bagget’s feelings. Speaking to a local news outlet this weekend, freshman Alexis Valle thinks the decision is a bad idea.

“I’m from the area and I have a lot of family that have cancer or lung problems in general,” she said. “I don’t want to risk taking it home and spreading it to my family because with the cancer they have, that could potentially really hurt them and potentially even result in death.”

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Thousands have signed a petition calling on Falwell Jr. to implement an extended break and move classes online. As of this writing, the petition has surpassed 11,000 signatures.


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WATCH: Maskless Kimberly Guilfoyle gives speech to Trump supporters the day before her positive COVID test was announced

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Donald Trump Jr.'s girlfriend, Trump campaign fundraiser Kimberly Guilfoyle, made headlines with the announcement she tested positive for COVID-19 with hours to go before President Donald Trump's speech at Mount Rushmore. The campaign was quick to note that this occurred before the president arrived in the state, that Guilfoyle and Trump Jr. would be backing out of attending the president's speech, and that they would not have any contact with him until further notice.

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Guilfoyle’s positive COVID-19 test a ‘set-back’ for troubled Trump campaign trying to brush off pandemic fears: report

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According to the Washington Post, the report that top Donald Trump 2020 campaign official, and girlfriend to Don Trump Jr., Kimberly Guilfoyle has tested positive for COVID-19 is not only a setback for the president's troubled campaign but also a stark reminder that the coronavirus is still spreading rapidly despite the president's denials.

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2020 Election

Trump advisors futilely trying to get him to stop ranting about statues as his re-election prospects collapse: report

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According to a report focusing on Donald Trump's rally at Mt. Rushmore on the evening before the 4th of July, advisors to the president are attempting to get him to start focusing on bread and butter issues that will get him re-elected instead of harping on statues being pulled down by protesters across the country.

As the Daily Beast report illustrates, their efforts appear to be futile based upon his Friday night speech.

With the president trying to fire up the crowd by insisting, “Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our founders. They think the American people are weak, and soft, and submissive,” the Beast reported that Trump, "decided to focus heavily Friday evening on protesters and Black Lives Matter activists who want various American monuments, including those honoring Confederate, white-supremacist, and slave-owning figures of history, torn down and destroyed for good. "

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