“The university has decided to move most classes to a digital format and to allow students the choice to return to campus after spring break or stay home and complete their classes remotely,” according to the university’s website.
Falwell’s decision — which comes after Virginia governor Ralph Northam placed a blanket ban on gatherings of more than 100 to try to stem the rate of infection — has drawn criticism from members of Liberty’s own faculty.
“This decision runs contrary to the three other residential schools in our area that have closed their dorms, allowing only those with nowhere else to go to remain,” Liberty English professor Marybeth Davis Baggett said. “Jerry Falwell Jr. is about to make a terrible mistake. It’s time for the Liberty University board to stop him and shut the campus down before it’s too late.”
Falwell Jr has offered several theories about the coronavirus, including that the viral outbreak may have been mastermind by China and North Korea as an act of biological warfare against the United States. While the allegations have not been proven, they have been discussed as a topic of Congressional heaerings after the crisis passes.
“The owner of a restaurant asked me last night, he said, ‘Do you remember the North Korean leader promised a Christmas present for America, back in December?’” Falwell said. “‘Could it be they got together with China and this is that present?’ I don’t know. But it really is something strange going on.”
These comments led to the start of a petition calling for Falwell’s termination. Falwell also has suggested that the media are overhyping the severity of the coronavirus.
As of Tuesday, over 2,934 people statewide had tested positive for the coronavirus and 27 had died.
Liberty University, in a statement, said it remains in compliance with Northam’s orders and is keeping the campus open to provide housing for students who are not from Lynchburg . Only about 10 percent of its residential students are on campus, the university said.
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice