Lynchburg & The Falwells

Image taken from the Liberty University website

Peter Lynch, Class of 2009

Washington DC 

University of Lynchburg Alumni Board Member

The Westover Building’s terrace was named after Jerry Falwell Sr. last year.  Why is the University of Lynchburg honoring a man that did not honor the inclusive liberal arts values that we cherish? I believe the Falwell name should come down and a better representative of our school, of which there are many, should go up. 

     Jerry Falwell Jr. gave a gift to the University of Lynchburg valued at 1 million dollars, and his father did attend Lynchburg College for two years. After that it would seem not much else ties these Lynchburg institutions to one another. 

     Falwell said after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, “I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays, and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU [American Civil Liberties Union], People for the American Way – all of them who have tried to secularize America – I point the finger in their face and say: ‘You helped this happen.'”

     If a professor claimed this in class, would they still have a job? 

     This was one comment that was consistent with racist, homophobic, damaging rhetoric that Falwell espoused over the course of his life. 

     Can anyone honestly defend the terrace naming decision to an LGBTQ student, a student of color, or any student?  We are uplifting the ideology of Falwell by giving him this distinction. The University of Lynchburg can and must do better. 

     I believe Dr. Alison Morrison-Shetlar will embody and uphold the rich history of Lynchburg College. This is a liberal arts institution that empowers students to become their best selves and make better the world they find. Falwell’s hateful sentiments have no place here.

     Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and Holocaust survivor, came to campus 31 years ago. He spoke at the dedication of the recently developed Christian Resister Archive. The professor, James Patrick Kelley, focused on Dietrich Bonhoeffer and other German Christians that resisted the hateful idelogy of Nazi Germany. They spoke out against wrongdoing even if it meant death. We should take seriously that poignant lesson as the Falwell name lingers on campus. It is wrong. We cannot remain quiet, and the terrace name should change. 

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