LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Liberty University senior Elizabeth Brooks says she loves her school and thinks Jerry Falwell, Jr.’s leave of absence is a good step forward in changing the University’s reputation for the better.
“If I had posted a picture like that,” she said, “if I had posted a picture of myself in a two-piece bikini, I would be written up.”
Last fall, Brooks, an activist, organized a student protest at Liberty. She spoke exclusively with WFXR about finally seeing her University president be publicly held accountable.
“It’s actually almost been a year. It’ll be a year in a month, which I can’t believe it. I can’t believe it’s all come full circle.”
The protest was in response to reporting that detailed sexual harassment and other misconduct at Liberty.
“We were just calling for an investigation,” she said, “just the Board to look into it, because for so long the board has sat on the sideline and really hasn’t cared what he’s done.”
She’s surprised that after a series of controversies, the Instagram photo of Falwell’s pants unbuttoned seems to be the tipping point for the Board.
“It didn’t even matter over the summer when there was racism being spread from his account, but it took a picture, a racy image on Instagram to get the conservative talking heads to finally pay attention to the matter.”
Now, she hopes his leave becomes permanent, and so does Liberty alum Calum Best.
“It feels good to be an alum again,” he said, “now that our reputation is moving a little bit away from Jerry Falwell.”
“You mention Liberty out there and people immediately begin asking questions about Falwell, if they ask you questions at all and don’t dismiss you in a sneering look.”
He and other alumni started a nonprofit called Save 71. Their goal is to improve Liberty’s reputation by demanding action from the Board, including Falwell’s permanent removal.
“Ask for and pressure the board to form a third party,” said Best, “independent committee to go about selecting a new president for Liberty University.”