RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Liberty University is opening an independent investigation into Jerry Falwell Jr.’s tenure as president. The board of the Virginia evangelical school on Monday announced that it has hired an outside firm to conduct the inquiry. It said the investigation will cover financial, real estate and legal matters. The board said in a statement that it was “committed to learning the consequences that have flowed from a lack of spiritual stewardship by our former president.” Calls for such an investigation had been mounting since Falwell’s departure last week from the post he had held since 2007. Falwell left after a provocative photo and revelations of his wife’s extramarital affair roiled the school founded by his father.
Here is the entire news release from Liberty University:
LIBERTY UNIVERSITY BOARD PLEDGES FULL COMMITMENT TO SPIRITUAL MISSION AND LAUNCHES INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION
Lynchburg, VA — Liberty University’s Executive Committee, acting on behalf of its Board of Trustees, issued the following statement today:
This past week challenged all of us to the core. While we had been willing to extend grace and understanding to Jerry Falwell, Jr. before, once the revelations about his past personal life came more fully to light, we acted swiftly and decisively to ask for his immediate resignation, which we received.
Some may say that all the signs were there for a long time before last week. It’s certainly fair to say that there were questionable comments made, worrying behavior, and inappropriate social media posts, but all the signs were not there until the start of last week. While we still didn’t know the full scope of the matter, we have learned enough about the past to know that we had no choice but to take the leadership of Liberty University in a new direction.
We are also committed to learning the consequences that have flowed from a lack of spiritual stewardship by our former president. One of the leading forensic firms in the world has been retained by Liberty University’s Board of Trustees to conduct a thorough investigation into all facets of Liberty University operations during Jerry Falwell, Jr.’s tenure as President, including but not limited to financial, real estate, and legal matters.
Throughout these past few weeks, we knew we were being lifted in prayer by the entire Liberty University community. For this we are especially grateful, as we know it was by the Lord’s grace that we were able to put aside emotion and make the decisions that were necessary and essential for bringing calm to the storm. We thank all those who extended prayerful support!
“Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.” Matthew 8:26b
Of course, moving forward, we are very mindful that we must seek leaders who demonstrate a full commitment to the spiritual mission of Liberty University by words, actions, and example. That is why, in addition to starting a search for a new president, we are also reviewing options to establish a new role in the top leadership of the University for someone who will serve as a spiritual coach, mentor, and guide to help ensure that every member of the University leadership fulfills his or her spiritual responsibility to live out the Christian walk expected of each and every one of us at Liberty.
Lastly, we are charging Jerry Prevo to use the full range of his presidential authority to implement any changes necessary to improve the ongoing operations of the University, and to enrich the spiritual mission of Liberty University, not only for its students but also for every executive, administrator, faculty member, and the entire staff, and for a prospective new president, as well.
We ask for continued prayers as we all manage this transition and for a continued commitment by us all to fulfill our spiritual mission here at Liberty University today and always.
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