Money and power, by the way, are the two things Falwell really cares about. He constantly brags about his access to President Trump, Kanye West, and others. You should see what he thinks of poor people. In his pursuit of status and material well-being, Falwell has done catastrophic damage to my school’s image. People are starting to notice: It’s now not uncommon, despite a culture of fear that is still present at the school, to see students, faculty, and in one case, a group of 30-plus black alumni leaders—including pastors—speak out against Falwell. This is good and necessary.
Until now, board members have stayed largely silent, apparently thinking that Falwell Jr. is the right person to carry out the vision his father had in founding the university. Student leaders, who get special treatment (parking passes, perks from athletics) and perceive themselves as having access and influence as a result of their proximity to administration officials, also rationalize their silence about Falwell. (As a student government leader for four years, I did, too, for a while.) And disturbingly, the school’s spiritual leaders, many of them privately opposed to Falwell, persuade students that their moral convictions aren’t worth pursuing—a worrying indicator of how Falwell’s presence is having a chilling effect on the moral formation of Liberty’s students. Mounting a sincere defense of Falwell is virtually impossible, so the culture that supports him is constructed with layers of flimsy, culturally accepted truths about faith, politics, media bias, and loyalty that make Falwell out to be the hero, the victim, and an unassailable authority figure all rolled into one.