Liberty alumni react to Falwell Jr. resigning

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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) – Alumni are responding to the news of Jerry Falwell, Jr. resigning from Liberty University.

Some are saying this is just the first step to repair the University’s reputation and the board of trustees has work to do to reach that goal. Others are hoping that the school can move past this and continue to benefit the local economy.

“It’s good news. It’s the first necessary step towards improving Liberty University,” said Dustin Wahl.

Wahl is a co-founder of Save 71, an alumni organization advocating for reform. He says with Falwell gone, there’s still a lot more to be done.

“Our organization, Save 71, is calling on the board of trustees to appoint an independent 3rd party inquiry into Falwell’s years of leadership and his abuse of power,” Wahl said.

He and other members of the group believe among other transgressions, more recently, there are apparent lies in recent articles quoting Falwell, Jr.

“They are later immediately contradicted by verified details in the Reuter’s piece. So if those are the kinds of lies that Falwell has been feeding people for years we have no idea what other lies he’s been telling about the business dealings with the university,” said another Save 71 co-founder Calum Best.

“There’s a lot that a third party investigation should look into. What they find is what they find. But it needs to be a third party. Liberty needs to rely on other people now to provide accountability,” Wahl added.

Despite what happens next for the university, some are hoping it’s able to move forward to continue helping the local economy.

“The previous reports I’ve seen with the various jobs I’ve had in the community, have Liberty University having some form of economic impact close to a billion dollars annually,” said Lynchburg City Council Member Chris Faraldi.

Faraldi is a Liberty University alumni and says while there is bound to be a shakeup with Falwell, Jr. leaving, he doesn’t see it having much of an impact.

“I don’t think there’s going to be much of a change one way or the other. If anything I think the university continues to grow. I think the Lynchburg region continues to reap the benefits of Liberty University,” Faraldi said.

CEO & Chief Economic Development Officer of the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance, Megan A. Lucas also provided a statement of the impact that Falwell, Jr resigning could have.

“Liberty University has been, is, and will continue to be an amazing engine for economic growth in our region; employing more than 8,000 people and educating thousands upon thousands of others in hundreds of degree programs. This large group of people are committed to the Lynchburg region and will continue to make a wide and deep economic impact.

“Like with the immediate resignation of any key senior leader, however, Liberty University will need time to digest President Falwell’s resignation to then chart a new strategic course. I understand that a presidential search committee has already formed. But Liberty University is built to last. With a new multi-billion dollar campus, a multi-billion-dollar endowment, hundreds of strategic degree programs, thousands of committed faculty and staff, hundreds of thousands of students, a growing athletics program, and everything else that it has in its favor, Liberty University will continue to be an economic powerhouse.”

Megan A. Lucas, CEO & Chief Economic Development Officer, Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance

The University spokesman provided a news release in regards to Falwell, Jr.’s resignation. It featured statements from the Acting Board Chairman and the Acting President.

Acting Board Chairman Dr. Allen McFarland, said, “I am so encouraged by the unity of Christ that I saw exemplified by our Board today. Liberty University’s future is very bright and in capable hands of leaders who are committed to being good stewards of what the Lord has entrusted!”

Jerry Prevo, who will stay on as Acting President, said, “Our students are ready to be world changers as Champions for Christ. Their spirit is strong as they look to the future. I intend to do all I can to nurture their spiritual side as they grow academically and enjoy all our campus has to offer.”

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