At a press conference on Wednesday, Gov. Ralph Northam (D-VA) sharply criticized Jerry Falwell, Jr. and Liberty University for reopening their campus in defiance of state and local officials, despite the novel coronavirus still posing a threat to their students and faculty.
“I have heard the press reports that Liberty University is inviting and welcoming students back to their campus in Lynchburg,” said Northam. “We have heard too many mixed messages around the country about COVID-19, and this is yet another example. Our message has been clear and it will continue to be clear: Stay home unless you have to leave for essential reasons. We appreciate our colleges and universities making accommodation for students with special cases, but that is very different from inviting students to leave their homes and come back to campus.”
“As we are told in 1 Corinthians, ‘it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful,'” continued Northam. “Proving faithful means providing clear and consistent guidance, and it means respecting the duty that Liberty University has to its students, its staff, the Lynchburg community in which it is located, and our commonwealth. I will suggest that President Falwell look to the actions of the leaders for how to set a strong example in this crisis, and to please reconsider his message that invites and encourages students to return to campus.”