'A culture of fear': Liberty U trustees under fire for ignoring complaints about Falwell Jr's campus carousing

According to a report at the Wall Street Journal, Liberty University trustees are feeling heat from both alumni and students who want answers as to why they ignored multiple reports about school president Jerry Falwell Jr's campus hijinks that included him wandering about and smelling of alcohol.


Now that Falwell has been ousted following both a drinking and a sex scandal involving his wife and their pool boy, trustees of the evangelical Christian college are being called to account for their inaction after complaints ramped up about Falwell during the past year.

Noting that the Liberty University code of conduct states students can be expelled for drinking or "sexual misconduct," the Journal reports, "Former school administrators said staff and donors complained that he showed up to campus appearing drunk or smelling of alcohol. He told another Christian leader on Twitter to 'grow a pair.' One former staffer recounted overhearing him say a tea at a campus cafe reminded him of a whiskey he had tried. Once, at a Liberty football game, he accidentally sent a risqué photo of his wife to a number of administrators, including his son, according to people who witnessed it."

According to former student Caitlin Elliott, during Falwell's tenure there was a "culture of fear" on campus.

“He created this environment where he kind of had immunity to do whatever he wanted," she explained with her sentiments echoed by another student, Dustin Wahl, who stated the board should have no part in picking Falwell's replacement and claimed, "The board is not capable of protecting Liberty or leading it in a new direction."

Last Monday the trustees announced that they have hired a forensic firm tasked with looking into “all facets of Liberty University operations,” but that hasn't silenced the critics.

According to one former student who previously spearheaded a letter to the trustees asking for action on Falwell, he doubts the school can be fixed without wholesale changes.

“They allowed this stuff to go on,” Pastor Maina Mwaura explained. “I don’t know if the school will be truly fixed, because the people who caused the problem are still there. The folks who allowed the institution to melt down are still there.”

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