Liberty University Board Accepts Jerry Falwell Jr.’s Resignation
Emily McFarlan Miller Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
- 2020 Aug 26
(RNS) — The board of Liberty University has accepted the resignation of its president, Jerry Falwell Jr., after a roller coaster day in which Falwell resigned, then withdrew his resignation, then resigned again late Monday night (Aug. 24).
The board announced it had accepted Falwell’s resignation from his roles as president and chancellor of the university and from its board of directors after meeting Tuesday morning.
“I am so encouraged by the unity of Christ that I saw exemplified by our Board today,” acting board Chairman Allen McFarland said in a written statement.
“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!”
The university and board did not adjust the severance compensation in Falwell’s preexisting employment agreement, according to the statement from the school. Liberty’s latest tax filings show Falwell made just over $1 million in 2018.
Jerry Prevo remains acting president of Liberty.
“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,” Prevo said in the statement.
The back-and-forth began Monday, when Falwell resigned from Liberty University, the evangelical school his father, the Rev. Jerry Falwell Sr., founded in Lynchburg, Virginia. The younger Falwell stepped into the role of president after his father died in 2007.
That resignation came hours after a bombshell report from Reuters alleging a past sexual relationship between Falwell, his wife and a business partner.
The day before, Falwell had given a statement to the Washington Examiner saying his wife, Becki Falwell, had had an affair with their business partner — “something in which I was not involved,” he said.
Falwell called it a “‘fatal attraction’ type situation” and said it had taken an “emotional toll” on him.
Falwell had been on indefinite leave of absence from his role at Liberty for weeks after some controversial activity on social media. Calls from alumni and others for his resignation or removal had intensified during that time.
Reached before news of his resignation broke on Monday, Falwell told Religion News Service he would not comment beyond his statement to the Examiner.
Several sources confirmed Falwell’s resignation to RNS on Monday afternoon.
But later Monday, Falwell told a Virginia business publication those reports were false.
Liberty then released a statement saying Falwell had agreed to resign before he reversed course.
Late Monday night, Falwell told The Wall Street Journal he had, indeed, submitted his letter of resignation.
He did not respond to requests for comment from RNS.
“It’s a relief,” he told a local newspaper reporter Tuesday.
“The quote that keeps going through my mind this morning is Martin Luther King Jr: ‘Free at last, free at last. Thank God almighty, I’m free at last.”
Article originally published by Religion News Service. Used with permission.
Photo courtesy: ©RNS/AP Photo/Steve Helber