LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) — Former students of the University of Lynchburg in Virginia want to cut ties with Liberty University and rename part of a building dedicated to the late Rev. Jerry Falwell.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that an online petition has received more than 700 signatures.
Former students pointed to what they described as a long history of bigoted remarks by Liberty University’s founder.
“His values do not align with what the University of Lynchburg says they want to be,” said Johnathan Harris, a 2002 graduate who wrote a letter to school leadership. “His rhetoric represented that of racism, bigotry, placism and sexism until the last day.”
Falwell’s name is on a plaque at the rooftop terrace of the new 90,000-square-foot Westover Hall, a $22 million residence hall that opened last fall and was built in part with money donated by Liberty.
Jerry Falwell Jr., who took over the presidency of Liberty University in 2007, disputed the claims that his father was a bigot.
“My father loved everybody but he did have certain theological beliefs and he expressed them and he was very vocal about them,” Falwell Jr. told the newspaper. “But that’s theological; it’s not anything to do with not loving people.”
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