Several students from Liberty University are speaking out for the very first time about what a sleazeball Jerry Falwell Jr. truly is.
Earlier this month, Falwell posted a photo of himself with a woman who is not his wife, both with their pants undone, partying on a yacht.
Shortly after that a video from the party surfaced, prompting the Liberty Board of Trustees to issue a statement announcing Falwell would be taking an “indefinite leave of absence” from his post as president of the Christian university:
The Executive Committee of Liberty University’s Board of Trustees, acting on behalf of the full Board, met today and requested that Jerry Falwell, Jr. take an indefinite leave of absence from his roles as President and Chancellor of Liberty University, to which he has agreed, effective immediately.
Now, NPR has spoken to several students currently enrolled at Liberty and it seems, with Falwell gone, they’re finally comfortable talking about how much they don’t like him, despite his efforts to paint himself out to seem like a beloved figure on campus.
Caroline Reinhart, a senior at Liberty, calls Falwell’s party boy behavior “sad.”
“His father worked so hard to build a legacy,” she says. “One person’s actions are threatening that, and I think that’s very sad.”
The 21-year-old continues, “If what he says and does, does not demonstrate good Christian values, or what Christians say are their values, then that will affect our witness, and hurt our witness.”
Reinhart is referring to the teaching that Christians must live out their faith in a visible way to encourage others to seek salvation in Jesus Christ.
When asked about Falwell’s close affiliation with Donald Trump, Reinhart doesn’t hold back.
“I think at times he presents himself in a way that suggests that he almost sees Trump as an idol,” she says. “I think he just excuses everything that goes on, and that’s not acceptable.”
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[email protected] and I spent the last 3 nights at Mar A Lago for my speeches at a @turningpointusa event and at the West Palm Beach GOP Christmas/Hanukkah party. The kids came over to hang out with us last night. Now on to Orlando for @libertyuniversity @libertyfootball first bowl game. Go Flames!!! @curebowl
Nick Nary, also a senior at Liberty, says he hasn’t been happy with Falwell’s behavior for a long time.
“It just feels like he’s just clowning around,” Nary says. “At some point it doesn’t really feel like he acknowledges or understands the full weight of his actions.”
The 20-year-old adds that he’s concerned Falwell’s behavior might hurt his job prospects after he finishes his degree.
“If someone graduates [from] Liberty University and they’re going out to an employer and they don’t want to hire them because of Jerry Falwell Jr.’s antics,” Nary says. “I would hate that, to be associated with someone’s character, because they might have had 50 million other reasons they went to Liberty.”
And junior Isaac Liu says he was glad that Falwell was ousted as president, saying he’s “a symptom of [the problem in] the modern-day evangelical movement in America.”
“Christianity is losing cultural relevancy due to that hypocrisy,” Liu says. “I think a lot of younger evangelical Christians really notice that.”
Since losing his job at Liberty earlier this month, Falwell kept a low profile. He hasn’t issued any comment on his termination or posted anything to social media.