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In History
  • Liberty Sues Family Whose Ancestors' Graves Were Disturbed By Campus Construction

    Years after construction on Liberty’s expanding campus obstructed dozens of graves of one of Lynchburg’s founding families, including the unmarked graves of slaves, Liberty sues the family’s descendants in an attempt to vindicate itself. The legal battle continues until 2018, when the family's funds run out and the case is quietly settled in Liberty's favor.
  • 'End Those Muslims'

    'End Those Muslims'
    Falwell, in the wake of a mass shooting in San Bernardino, says that the victims should have been armed. He tells students at convocation: “If more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in.”
  • Falwell Uses Student Body as a Human Shield

    Facing scrutiny for this comment, Falwell uses the student body as a shield and baselessly tells the Washington Post that support for his comments on campus is "almost universal.”
  • Falwell Endorses Trump

    Falwell Endorses Trump
    Falwell endorses then-candidate Donald Trump for president during the Republican primary, becoming one of the first prominent evangelicals to support him. From this point until Election Day, Falwell publicly advocates for Trump on many occasions, and while he insists that the endorsement is only in his personal capacity, Liberty’s name and brand is invoked whenever Falwell speaks.
  • Mark DeMoss Speaks Out

    Mark DeMoss, a 25-year member of the Board of Trustees and Falwell Sr.’s former chief of staff, criticizes Falwell Jr.’s endorsement of Trump, saying that Trump’s behavior is not the “Christ-like behavior that Liberty has spent 40 years promoting with its students.”
  • Mark DeMoss is Asked to Resign

    DeMoss is asked to resign from his role as chairman of the Board’s executive committee. Four days later, DeMoss resigns from the Board entirely, ending his 25 years of service at Liberty.
  • Liberty Sues Its Neighbors

    Liberty sues 400 property owners near Ivy Lake, a body of water that was donated to Liberty in 2008. The lake’s dam has needed repairs since 2013, and Liberty argues that since residents benefit from the lake’s proximity, they should pay part of the cost.
  • 'You're Not Supposed to Turn the Other Cheek'

    'You're Not Supposed to Turn the Other Cheek'
    Falwell says that politics is a “blood sport,” likening it to a football game or a war, in which “you’re not supposed to turn the other cheek. You’re at war.” He says he likes how “personable” Trump is “and how generous he’s been to a lot of people in his personal life,” saying he thinks that “makes somebody a good Christian.”
  • Falwell Dismisses Trump's 'Locker Room Talk'

    After a recording of Trump bragging about sexual assault is made public, Falwell stands by his endorsement. He calls the comments “reprehensible” and “not defensible,” but also dismisses them as an example of “somebody bragging in a locker room-type environment about something they never did.”
  • Liberty Students Rebuke Falwell's Trump Endorsement

    A group of students issues a statement rebuking Falwell’s association with Trump, which receives more than 2,000 signatures from students and alumni. Falwell dismisses the group as “a very small percentage of the Liberty student body.”
  • Falwell Dismisses Trump's Assault Allegations

    Falwell Dismisses Trump's Assault Allegations
    On CNN, Falwell refuses to say whether he would stop supporting Trump, even if the sexual assault allegations against him were proven true.
  • Falwell Censors Student Paper Over Criticism of Trump

    Falwell Censors Student Paper Over Criticism of Trump
    Falwell blocks Liberty Champion sports editor Joel Schmeig from criticizing Trump's "locker room talk" in his weekly column. Schmeig resigns. Falwell justifies the censorship as the elimination of redundancy because the paper was also publishing a letter to the editor that expressed support for Hillary Clinton.
  • Liberty Conducts Bogus Poll

    Liberty University Online call center employees spend much of the day calling residential Liberty students and asking who they plan to vote for in the presidential election. The results of the unscientific poll are printed in the following week's Liberty Champion issue.
  • Liberty Fires Emily Heady

    Emily Heady, who was slated to become the new provost at Liberty, is fired suddenly. In the following month, a half dozen administrative staff leave because of their lack of confidence in the provost’s office. Heady was revered by colleagues and was largely responsible for Liberty passing its 2011-2012 SACS accreditation review with flying colors and “no recommendations.” Her removal is seen by some as a turning point in Liberty’s academic direction.
  • Political Ideology Test Given to Faculty

    Faculty return for the spring semester. At their orientation, they are given an anonymous political ideology survey that instructs professors to rate how conservative or liberal they are. It is included in faculty’s orientation packets, and those who missed orientation are emailed the survey and instructed to fill it out and return it to the provost’s office by Jan. 18. Some professors worry that departments that appear more liberal will be targeted by the administration.
  • Liberty Film Students Protest Trump Movie

    Liberty Film Students Protest Trump Movie
    Liberty film students launch a petition protesting that they are being required to work on a film called "The Trump Prophecy" about a firefighter who had a vision of Trump becoming president. The students call the movie heretical and say it will hurt their career prospects.
  • Online Graduates Struggle to Pay Off Debt

    The New York Times reports that “38 percent of Liberty borrowers manage to pay down as little as one dollar on their student loan principal within three years of leaving school. Forty-one percent of former Liberty students earn less than $25,000 per year—the typical salary for people with only a high school diploma at age 25—six years after entering college.”
  • Liberty Sells School Merchandise with Trump Campaign Branding

    At commencement, Liberty sells t-shirts and hats with Trump campaign slogans on them, like “Making America Great Again One Degree at a Time.”
  • Falwell Defends 'Very Fine People on Both Sides'

    Falwell Defends 'Very Fine People on Both Sides'
    Falwell defends Trump's comments after the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally suggesting there were "very fine people" on both sides.
  • Group of Liberty Alumni Return Diplomas

    Dozens of alumni send back diplomas in protest of Falwell's defense of Trump's Charlottesville comments.
  • Falwell's Miami Hostel

    Politico reports that the Falwell family owns a hostel in Miami through an LLC based on university property. The hostel promotes a variety of activities banned on Liberty’s campus.
  • Liberty Kicks Pastor Off Campus

    Liberty Kicks Pastor Off Campus
    Pastor Jonathan Martin, a critic of Falwell, announces that he will hold a prayer meeting on Liberty's campus at the invitation of students. On the night before the prayer meeting, while attending a Johnnyswim concert, Martin is forcibly removed from the greenroom backstage—where his friends in the band had invited him—and is banned from campus.
  • Liberty Student Reporters Fired

    Liberty Student Reporters Fired
    Falwell blocks Liberty Champion assistant news editor Erin Covey from covering a revival led by progressive Christians critical of Falwell and Trump. Covey tells Religion News Service that “the level of oversight we have does make it difficult to pursue the accurate journalism that we’re taught in classes.” Covey and news editor Jack Panyard are fired a month later.
  • Investigation into Liberty Online

    ProPublica publishes an investigation into Liberty University Online. It details the amount of money spent on academics, the pressure put on call center employees to sign up new students, and the large amount of federal aid Liberty receives—the sixth highest amount among American universities. Falwell is quoted as saying that “the big victory” in expanding the online school “was finding a way to tame the faculty.”
  • Liberty Cuts School of Education Faculty

    About a dozen School of Education faculty are given non-renewal notices as Liberty restructures its doctoral program to rely more heavily on online instruction, meaning fewer residential faculty are needed. This gives faculty a little over a month to find new jobs before their contracts run out June 30.
  • Report Ties Michael Cohen to the Falwell Family

    Report Ties Michael Cohen to the Falwell Family
    News breaks that Falwell is being sued by a father-son duo in Miami who claim they were cut out of a business deal between the Falwell family and a pool attendant. It is also reported that Trump lawyer Michael Cohen helped arrange Falwell's endorsement of Trump.
  • Miss Virginia Swimsuit Contest in Campus Worship Center

    The Miss Virginia competition is held in Liberty's Center for Music & Worship, complete with a swimsuit contest. About 1,000 feet away, female Liberty students can be fined for wearing the same swimsuits at the East Campus pool.
  • The Falwells Insult Ben Rector

    The Falwells Insult Ben Rector
    Becki Falwell posts a photo of her and husband with musician Ben Rector and says, “He had a major attitude!!!” After someone tweets the photo, Rector responds and says, “My experience there was really strange and sad. I can honestly say I’ve never been mislead (sic) like that before.” Falwell then lashes out at Rector in a series of tweets.
  • Students' Data Leased to Political Candidate

    Liberty leases student email addresses to the Corey Stewart campaign for almost $10,000. Falwell says, "It's a pretty big list," as it likely includes donors and alumni as well as students.
  • Falwell Asserts Total Authority

    Falwell Asserts Total Authority
    Falwell says in a Convocation, "At Liberty we're run more like a business, so if I decide we're going to do something, we do it."
  • Falwell Dismisses Christianity's Relevance to Politics

    Falwell tells the Washington Post that “[a] poor person never gave anybody charity, not of any real volume." He criticizes the idea that “public policy should be dictated by the teachings of Jesus.”
  • Report that Liberty's CIO Rigged Polls

    The Wall Street Journal reports that Liberty's chief information officer, John Gauger, was hired to rig online polls in favor of Trump in 2015. Michael Cohen had paid him with "a blue Walmart bag containing between $12,000 and $13,000 in cash and, randomly, a boxing glove that" Cohen "said had been worn by a Brazilian mixed-martial arts fighter."
  • Liberty Makes List of 'Worst Colleges for Free Speech.'

    The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a nonpartisan organization advocating for first amendment rights on college campuses, includes Liberty in its list of "10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech."
  • Falwell Brags About Starting Twitter Fights

    Falwell says during Convocation, "When I get bored on vacation I start Twitter fights."
  • Falwell Flaunts Ability to Speak Freely

    Falwell Flaunts Ability to Speak Freely
    Falwell says during Convocation, "I couldn't say half the things I say at any other university."
  • Liberty Fires Communication School Faculty

    Two School of Communications professors are informed that their contracts have been terminated. They had previously reported to Human Resources about the unprofessional and inappropriate behavior of their dean. Later, the dean is demoted.
  • Cohen Helps Cover Up 'Racy Photos'

    Reuters reports that Falwell asked Michael Cohen for help covering up "racy photos."
  • 'Grow a Pair'

    'Grow a Pair'
    Falwell tweets about Pastor David Platt, the former president of the International Mission Board, saying, "Sorry to be crude but pastors like [David Platt] need to grow a pair. Just saying." The tweet is later deleted.
  • Liberty Cuts School of Divinity Faculty

    Inside Higher Ed reports that a dozen faculty members at Liberty's Rawlings School of Divinity have had their contracts terminated. Liberty professors are not tenured, so their contracts can be terminated at the end of any school year.
  • Cohen Tries to Destroy Compromising Photos

    The New York Times reports that Michael Cohen tried to destroy compromising photos of the Falwells that he thought were being used for leverage in a legal dispute over the ownership of a hostel in Miami.
  • Falwell Insults Russell Moore

    Falwell Insults Russell Moore
    Falwell tweets at the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission President Russell Moore: “Who are you @drmoore? Have you ever made a payroll? Have you ever built an organization of any type from scratch? What gives you authority to speak on any issue? I’m being serious. You’re nothing but an employee- a bureaucrat.”
  • Liberty's 'Culture Of Fear'

    Former Liberty Champion Editor-in-Chief Will Young reports in the Washington Post that Liberty has a culture of silencing dissent against Falwell, from tight control of the student newspaper to a requirement that “terminated professors to sign a nondisclosure agreement if they want their severance packages."
  • LANY Cancels Campus Concert

    LANY Cancels Campus Concert
    Pop band LANY, which was booked to perform at Liberty, cancels after alumni circulate the video of Falwell saying in 2015, "If more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in."
  • Land Deal Benefits Falwell's Personal Trainer

    Reuters reports that Falwell “personally approved real estate transactions by his nonprofit Christian university that helped his personal fitness trainer obtain valuable university property.”
  • 'She was 13 and I was 18 when I met her'

    When Candace Owens speaks at Convocation, Falwell says, "They told me not to say anything about [Owen's] time at Vogue because she says everybody there has an eating disorder. So that's why I said it. Cause they told me not to." During the same Convocation, Falwell and campus pastor David Nasser joke about his marriage to Becki. Falwell says, "She was 13 and I was 18 when I met her." Nasser says: "Hashtag blessed. Hashtag 13. Hashtag 18."
  • 'Someone’s Gotta Tell the Freakin’ Truth'

    Liberty alumnus Brandon Ambrosino reports for Politico how Falwell has used school resources to benefit his friends and family after talking to over two dozen current and former officials. One official calls Liberty a “real estate hedge fund.” He also reports that Falwell’s political activity and personal conduct, “from partying at nightclubs, to graphically discussing his sex life with employees,” has caused many in Liberty's community to believe he isn’t fit to lead.
  • Falwell Calls the FBI on Alumni

    Following the Politico article, Falwell announces that he asked the FBI to investigate what he calls a "criminal" smear campaign and an "attempted coup," and he refers to Ambrosino as a "little boy."
  • Falwell Lies About Miami Nightclub

    After initially saying that there were no photos of him at the Miami nightclub referenced in the Politico article, Falwell states that he never denied he was at the nightclub.
  • Falwell Calls Student 'Retarded'

    Reuters reports that Falwell called a student “emotionally imbalanced and physically retarded” and called Liberty’s police chief a “half-wit.” Falwell admits to these allegations, telling the News & Advance that he will not “turn the other cheek” and that his “comments are always appropriate for whatever happened and sometimes it might not be the most pleasant thing in the world but you know what, that’s a part of running a business.”
  • Students Protest Falwell

    Virginia's attorney general declines to comment on whether he will investigate Liberty in light of the allegations of self-dealing discussed in the Politico article. Around 200 students attend a protest organized in response to the article.
  • Falwell Mocks Student Protesters

    Falwell Mocks Student Protesters
    Falwell tweets a meme making fun of the students who protested. It says, "The few people protesting Jerry are probably the same people going to the Area 51 raid in a week. Natural selection at its finest." He later replies to the tweet and says he is proud of the protesters and that the tweet was not aimed at them.
  • Confusion Over Potential SACS Review

    Liberty's accreditor, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools says that news reports about Liberty are being reviewed. The story announcing this news is later retracted. Liberty's official Twitter account is used to attack "disgruntled employees" for sharing emails and texts with the media, and to announce Falwell's appearance on One America News Network.
  • Falwell Settles Hostel Lawsuit

    The Miami Herald reports that Falwell has settled the lawsuit over his hostel, with Falwell paying an undisclosed "monetary sum."
  • Liberty's Official Twitter Account Misused

    Liberty University's official Twitter account is used to publicize the "investigation" Liberty plans to make to stop the "smear campaign" against Falwell.
  • ACTA President Criticizes Liberty's Board of Trustees

    Michael Poliakoff, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, writes that Liberty’s Board is not fulfilling its duties. He says that “Liberty’s trustees seem to be slouching toward joining the list of boards who failed to protect their schools from harm. They appear to have let Falwell reap personal profit from the university and have kept silent.”
  • Falkirk Center Launches

    Falkirk Center Launches
    Falwell and Charlie Kirk launch the Falkirk Center operating “as a wholly owned subsidiary of Liberty University under its 501(c)(3) charter.” Its website says, “Bemoaning the rise of leftism is no longer enough. Although we do, as Jesus taught, turn the other cheek in our personal relationships, we cannot abdicate our responsibilities on the cultural battlefield.”
  • Falwell Says His Faith Doesn't Inform His Politics 'At All'

    In a Ringer article about Liberty's football program, Falwell is asked how much his faith informs his political views. He says, "Not at all."
  • Falwell Calls Christianity Today a 'Progressive Rag'

    Falwell refers to Christianity Today as a "progressive rag," after the editor-in-chief writes a piece supporting Trump's impeachment.
  • Falwell Calls for Virginia to Secede

    Falwell holds a press conference with the West Virginia governor calling for part of Virginia to secede from Virginia and join West Virginia.
  • Falwell Tries to Discredit Abuse Victims

    Falwell Tries to Discredit Abuse Victims
    Falwell says on Fox Business that the women who accused Trump of sexual abuse before the 2016 election "were paid to say that." The host corrects him, saying that there is no proof of that.
  • Falwell Calls Liberty Parent 'Dummy'

    Falwell Calls Liberty Parent 'Dummy'
    On Twitter, Falwell calls a Liberty parent a "dummy." The parent had asked a question about the school's coronavirus response.
  • Faculty Told to Report to Work as Usual During Pandemic

    Liberty announces the move to remote classes after Virginia Governor Ralph Northam bans gatherings of over 100 people. Faculty and staff are instructed to report to work as usual and told to use vacation or sick days if they are concerned for their health and want to self-quarantine.
  • Falwell Dismisses Impact of COVID-19

    Falwell continues to dismiss the coronavirus, comparing it to the flu and saying that the H1N1 virus "killed more."
  • Professor Criticizes Liberty's COVID-19 Response

    Liberty English professor Dr. Marybeth Baggett criticizes the school's policy requiring professors to keep office hours during the pandemic.
  • Falwell Insults Liberty Professor

    Falwell Insults Liberty Professor
    Falwell refers to Dr. Baggett dismissively as “the Baggett lady” on Twitter.
  • Local Officials Criticize Liberty's COVID-19 Response

    Lynchburg Mayor Treney Tweedy says she "was very surprised and disappointed to later learn of President Falwell's most recent decision to allow students back on campus." Falwell falsely says on WSET that "Liberty is not operating any differently than any other college in the state."
  • Falwell Changes COVID-19 Response

    Falwell Changes COVID-19 Response
    On CNN, Falwell says Dr. Baggett was confused about the school's coronavirus policy. He also says, "I just don't think we can take [the coronavirus] too seriously." Hours after this interview, faculty and staff receive notice that departments may work from home, via an email that is also posted as an announcement on the Liberty website.
  • Falwell Calls for Criminal Charges Against Reporters

    Falwell presses for criminal trespass charges against two journalists who were on campus at the invitation of students. Ultimately, the Lynchburg Commonwealth chooses not to pursue the case.
  • Liberty Makes Huge Ad Buy to Brag About Its COVID-19 Response

    Liberty Makes Huge Ad Buy to Brag About Its COVID-19 Response
    Liberty runs a combative full page ad in Virginia newspapers defending Falwell's coronavirus response.
  • Falwell Suggests COVID-19 is a Bioweapon

    Falwell Suggests COVID-19 is a Bioweapon
    Falwell again suggests that the coronavirus could be a Chinese or North Korean bioweapon.
  • New York Times Reporter Threatened

    The New York Times reports that Falwell called one of its reporters shortly before midnight, leaving a voicemail message that says, "You're in some serious trouble."
  • Liberty Dissolves Philosophy Program

    Liberty shutters its philosophy program. Inside Higher Ed reports that the school "pointed to negative enrollment trends for degree-seeking philosophy students across the country to explain the move." Liberty's spokesperson also tells the reporter that Falwell was going to "solidify the tenants [sic] of Christian life" within Liberty's general education program.
  • Conservative Professor Criticizes Liberty for Dissolving Philosophy Program

    Conservative Professor Criticizes Liberty for Dissolving Philosophy Program
    Conservative Princeton professor Robert George criticizes Liberty for ending its philosophy program.
  • Falwell Says Faculty Contracts are 'Contingent on Enrollment Levels'

    In an interview with The Chronicle of Higher Education, Falwell says, "We're giving faculty their contracts, but we are making them contingent on enrollment levels. And there's a chance a lot of kids won't come back because parents are scared to send them back. So we're going to keep our options open."
  • Falwell Tweets Blackface Mask Photo

    Falwell tweets a picture of a face mask with a racist photo from Governor Northam’s yearbook, joking that he would only wear a mask if it had “Governor Blackface” on it.
  • Liberty Online Professor Resigns

    Liberty Online Professor Resigns
    Due to Falwell's blackface tweet, Liberty University Online professor Christopher House announces his resignation. In an article for Religion News Service, he writes that "Falwell's use of anti-Black images was not to create honest dialogue about the history of race and racism in America, regardless of whose face may have been under the black paint or under the Klan hood in the photo."
  • Falwell Refuses to Apologize for Blackface Tweet

    Falwell Refuses to Apologize for Blackface Tweet
    Falwell says he will not apologize for the tweet.
  • Black Alumni Ask Falwell to Resign

    Black Alumni Ask Falwell to Resign
    Three dozen Black Liberty alumni, including several pastors and former NFL players, write a public letter asking for Falwell to resign. They write, "Your statements hurt the ability of Liberty alumni to obtain jobs and have a voice in the culture. Having the school's name on a resume can be a liability."
  • Director of Diversity Retention Resigns

    Director of Diversity Retention Resigns
    LeeQuan McLaurin, Liberty's director of Diversity Retention, announces his resignation.
  • Associate Director of the Office of Spiritual Development Resigns

    Associate Director of the Office of Spiritual Development Resigns
    Thomas Starchia, an associate director in Liberty's Office of Spiritual Development, announces his resignation.
  • Online Admissions Counselor Resigns

    Online Admissions Counselor Resigns
    Online Admissions Counselor Keyvon Scott announces his resignation, saying, “I cannot in good faith encourage people to attend a school with racially insensitive leadership and culture.”
  • Falwell Apologizes for Tweet

    After more than a week of public pushback and resignations, Falwell deletes the tweet. In a video message, Falwell says that “when I was swinging at the governor, I inadvertently hit some people … the Liberty African American community. Therefore, I apologize to the people that I never intended to hurt, but I’m never going to apologize to the governor.”
  • Liberty Board of Trustees Defends Blackface Tweet

    Liberty Board of Trustees Defends Blackface Tweet
    A letter sent from Liberty board member Jerry Prevo reiterates Falwell's intent "to remind his Twitter followers that the Democrats in control of the South were the original racists and are now back in power hurting minorities."
  • Basketball Player Transfers Due to 'Racial Insensitivities'

    Basketball Player Transfers Due to 'Racial Insensitivities'
    Liberty women’s basketball player Asia Todd announces she is transferring “due to the racial insensitivities shown within the leadership and culture.”
  • Football Players Transfer

    Three football players, Kei'Trel Clark, Tayvion Land, and Waylen Cozad, announce they are transferring from Liberty in response to racial concerns.
  • Falwell Posts Photo of Unzipped Pants

    Falwell Posts Photo of Unzipped Pants
    Falwell posts and then deletes a photo of himself and his wife's young female assistant with their pants unzipped and shirts pulled up. He is holding a drink and violating Liberty's code of conduct in several ways. An accompanying video is also deleted.
  • Falwell Says 'I'm Gonna Try to Be a Good Boy'

    Falwell, slurring his speech throughout a radio interview, tries to explain away the incriminating photo and says, "I'm gonna try to be a good boy."
  • Rep. Mark Walker Calls for Falwell to Resign

    Rep. Mark Walker Calls for Falwell to Resign
    Rep. Mark Walker, the Vice-Chair of the House Republican Conference, calls for Falwell to be replaced.
  • Falwell Takes 'Indefinite Leave of Absence'

    Falwell Takes 'Indefinite Leave of Absence'
    The Executive Committee (E.C.) of Liberty's Board of Trustees requests that Falwell take an indefinite leave of absence. Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees Allen McFarland and other non-members of the six-person E.C. are not notified. Liberty insiders find the decision strange because the E.C. is very loyal to Falwell.
  • Jerry Prevo Appointed Interim President

    Jerry Prevo Appointed Interim President
    Liberty's Executive Committee appoints Chairman of the Board of Trustees and member of the Executive Committee Jerry Prevo interim president of Liberty.
  • Reports Uncover that Falwell Sits on Board Meant to Hold Falwell Accountable

    Reports Uncover that Falwell Sits on Board Meant to Hold Falwell Accountable
    Thomas Road Baptist Church's Board of Directors, which Jerry Falwell Sr. vested with the authority to remove any member of Liberty's Board of Trustees, is revealed to be at least partially under the influence of Jerry Falwell Jr. This raises more concerns about whether Liberty has any serious mechanisms of accountability, and reveals yet another way Falwell Jr. tried to separate Liberty from the church.
  • Former LU Student Leaders Regret Not Trying To Hold Falwell Accountable

    The Washington Examiner reports that Liberty's recent student body presidents believe most of the accusations against Falwell and don't think they did enough to hold Liberty's administration accountable. Former student body president Derek Rockey says that hoping Falwell will improve feels "blinded and naive."