Liberty University Reopens Campus Out of ‘Responsibility to Our Students’

LYNCHBURG, VA - MAY 13: U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and Jerry Falwell (R), President of Liberty University, on stage during a commencement at Liberty University May 13, 2017 in Lynchburg, Virginia. President Trump is the first sitting president to speak at Liberty's commencement since George H.W. Bush spoke in …
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Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., announced this week that he is encouraging students to return to the college’s Lynchburg, Virginia, campus despite ongoing concern over the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic. Falwell stated, “I think we have a responsibility to our students — who paid to be here, who want to be here, who love it here — to give them the ability to be with their friends, to continue their studies, enjoy the room and board they’ve already paid for and to not interrupt their college life.”

According to a report by the Richmond-Times Dispatch, Liberty University plans to reopen its doors to students this week amidst the ongoing Chinese virus pandemic. University President Jerry Falwell Jr. announced that Liberty University will continue to operate normally when students return from spring break this week.

“I was on a conference call with other college presidents and representatives from private colleges, and we listened to what other schools were doing,” Falwell said in a short comment. “Many were throwing their hands up and saying they would just close and others were going to extend their breaks. At that time, we were on Spring Break, so we had time to work on it.”

“I think we have a responsibility to our students — who paid to be here, who want to be here, who love it here — to give them the ability to be with their friends, to continue their studies, enjoy the room and board they’ve already paid for and to not interrupt their college life,” Falwell added.

Falwell has been criticized over the decision to reopen campus. Liberty University Professor Marybeth Davis Baggett published an opinion column on Sunday urging the university’s board of trustees to overrule Falwell’s decision.

“Many students, faculty, and staff have health conditions that would make COVID-19 difficult to fight,” Baggett wrote in the column. “And of course, Liberty is not a bubble where the virus would be contained. Instead, its population comes into regular contact with those in the Lynchburg community, putting their health and lives at risk as well.”

“It is unconscionable that the leadership of the university is fully implementing Falwell’s politically motivated and rash policy that unnecessarily risks an unmanageable outbreak here in Lynchburg,” Baggett added.

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