Posted in Liberty University, News

LU College Dems shut down, UPDATED

UPDATE:

Here is an official statement by Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr concerning the Dems group:

A number of sources recently reported that Liberty University banned Democrats from meeting on campus. One headline erroneously read: “Democrats at Liberty University forced to meet off campus.” Apparently many journalists do not let the facts get in the way of a juicy, agenda-driven story.

The story was spun out of control from the beginning, when Terry McAuliffe, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate for Virginia, called a telephone press conference to talk about the College Democrat club formed by students of Liberty University. The presses began to buzz. Much of what went to print was wrong. Most journalists were interested in scooping their competitors rather than seeking the truth. Even when some reporters learned the facts, they could not bring themselves to correct their stories because the fanciful reports were just too tempting.

The University has not banned Democrats from campus. Nor has the Democrat club been banned from meeting. And, never has the University or it’s officials said that a person cannot be a Christian and a Democrat. Sorry for those who want to run with these titillating soundbites, but these are the facts.

The students who formed the Democrat club last October are good students. They are pro-life and believe in traditional marriage. They can continue to meet on campus. The only thing that has changed came about as part of a University-wide review of all student organizations for official recognition status. Official recognition carries with it the benefit of using the University name and funds. While this group will not be an officially recognized club, it may still meet on campus.

Liberty University is the world’s largest and fastest growing evangelical university. While many schools have faced budget short falls and declining enrollment, Liberty is debt free and continues to grow at a rapid rate. We now have 11,500 students on campus and nearly 38,000 students online. This fall Liberty University will exceed 50,000 total students.

Parents and students support the University because they believe in its’ distinctly Christian identity and mission. Liberty University is pro-life and believes that marriage between one man and one woman provides the best environment for children. Liberty University will not lend its’ name or financial support to any student group that advances causes contrary to its mission.

While the students in the college Democrat club are pro-life and support traditional marriage, the constitution of the club pledged support to advance the Democratic platform and candidates. The 2008 Democratic platform has taken an extreme turn to the left on social issues. For the first time it supports federal funding of abortion and repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, a law passed overwhelmingly by a bi-partisan Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton. Liberty University will not lend its’ name or financial support to undermine marriage or to promote abortion.

While students are free to meet on campus, debate and discuss politics of every stripe, the University will remain true to its’ core principles and not lend its’ name or fund groups that work to undermine the principles that make Liberty attractive to so many people. Liberty brings many diverse speakers to campus. Last year Senator John McCain’s brother spoke to the students along with Virginia Democratic Governor, Tim Kaine, Dr. Bernice King, daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke to our students this Spring about how her opposition to same sex marriage put her at odds with her family and her political allies. Ted Kennedy also spoke at Liberty in 1983.

We encourage our students to bring positive change to all political parties, Democrats, Republicans and Independents. We hope our students challenge all political parties to remain true to the core moral values consistent with the Christian mission of the University. To blindly support any candidate solely because of party affiliation irrespective of their moral views is wrong. Liberty would never endorse a Republican student group that supported abortion rights. Liberty stands for certain core values; not for a political party.

Jerry Falwell, Jr.
Chancellor and President
Liberty University

——————————————————————————————-

The Lynchburg News & Advance released a story about this today, but chose to only tell part of the story. Here my coverage of the event. Will update as information becomes available.

~ ~

College Democrat meetings supported by Liberty University are now a thing of the past.

On May 15, Vice President of Student Affairs Mark Hine informed Brian Diaz, president of Liberty University College Democrats (LUCD), via e-mail that Liberty administration had decided to withdraw its support from the club, according to the Lynchburg News & Advance.

The conditions of this separation prohibit the LUCD from affiliating itself in any way with the university.

“All … clubs or organizations and their activities or events must be consistent with the university’s mission … The University reserves the right to refuse the use of its facilities for any reason to any student club, organization, activity or event,” according to the policy of Liberty University concerning student clubs and organizations. “No student club or organization shall be approved, recognized or permitted to meet on campus, advertise, distribute or post materials, or use University facilities if the statements, positions, doctrines, policies, constitutions, bylaws, platforms, activities or events of such club or organization, its parent, affiliate, chapter or similarly named group (even if the similarly named group is not the actual parent, affiliate or chapter) are inconsistent or in conflict with the distinctly Christian mission of the University, the Liberty Way, the Honor Code, or the policies and procedures promulgated by the University.”

Violation of these conditions could result in the issuance of six-12 reprimands and a fine of $25-50, according to the Liberty Way, the university’s code of conduct. Thirty reprimands can result in possible administrative withdrawal.

Blogs, tweets, Facebook statuses and message boards exploded all over the Internet like Friday night movie popcorn on the morning of May 22, when a News & Advance article addressed the issue and included statements from Diaz, Staff Adviser Maria Childress and Club Secretary Jan Dervish.

“In disappointing news, LU higher-ups ban the Young Democrats from campus,” a former Liberty student twittered.

“Maria Childress, you are truly ignorant and immature. Your loyalty should b(e) w/ your employer,” a Liberty professor’s Facebook status proclaimed.

To respond to the Hine’s e-mail, Childress, the secretary for the Liberty University Honors Program, and Dervish met with him to discuss the reasons behind the decision. Childress told the News & Advance that Hine’s bottom line was, “You can’t be a Democrat and be a Christian and be a university representative.”

However, according to Mathew Staver, the dean of the Liberty University School of Law who has been involved with the university on school-wide policies for many years, this statement was inaccurate.

“We believe that you can be a Christian and be part of any political party. We strongly deny that you can’t be a Christian and a Democrat,” Staver said in a phone interview.

Staver asserted that the administrative decision was not directly targeted at the students who were involved in the LUCD.

“It’s not about the individual students involved in the club. They are honorable students. But their position (in line with the national Democratic party) is in favor of abortion and the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act.

“It has nothing to do with the Republican party. There are many Democrats that are consistent with the stance of the university. (However), we do not believe that any party has any final say on moral issues. It has everything to do with being consistent with the moral issues that the university supports.”

Jerry Falwell Jr., the chancellor and president of Liberty University, released a statement later in the day with his comments concerning the termination.

“They still can meet on campus (in certain rooms). There is absolutely no animosity at all toward any of these kids,” Falwell said. “They are good, Christian kids who sit with me at ball games. I just hope they find a pro-life family organization to affiliate with so they can be endorsed by Liberty again.”

Advertisements

Author:

Christ follower. Wife. Mama.

4 thoughts on “LU College Dems shut down, UPDATED

  1. I’ve read a few short reports about this, but I really feel like I have the full story now. Thank you so much for reporting the facts! I would love to hear your personal opinion on it too, if you have any extra time feel free to facebook me!
    (Beth)

  2. Here's what I have a problem with:

    "The students who formed the Democrat club last October are good students. They are pro-life and believe in traditional marriage. They can continue to meet on campus."

    The insinuation is that if the students were not pro-life and did not "believe in traditional marriage," then they would by default not be good students or good people, and would not be allowed to meet on campus.

    Why? That's silly. The existence of an opposing belief does not nullify your own, Jerry Falwell.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s