The group that accredits Liberty University today confirmed that it is “monitoring the situation,” concerning reports that President Jerry Falwell Jr. maintains a culture of fear at Liberty and engages in alleged self-dealing.
However, contrary to an Associated Press report yesterday, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS) has not sent Liberty a letter asking it to “respond to the media reports.”
After I tweeted the AP story yesterday, Liberty VP of Communications Scott Lamb texted me, saying that the SACS had “confirmed with (Liberty) that no letter has been sent.” Today, SACS spokesperson, Janae Johnson, told me that the discrepancy between the AP report and Liberty was a “miscommunication on my part.”
Johnson said the SACS had spoken with Liberty and informed the school that the SACS is monitoring media reports about the university and Falwell. However, Johnson said there have been no written communications between SACS and Liberty.
When asked whether SACS is investigating Liberty, Johnson said, “We’re just monitoring what’s available in the media, but there isn’t an investigation from our personnel at this time.” Johnson said the SACS Board meets in December and will decide at that time whether or not to investigate Liberty.
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Johnson said, “We’re just monitoring what’s available in the media, but there isn’t an investigation from our personnel at this time.” Johnson said the SACS Board meets in December and will decide at that time whether or not to investigate Liberty.
Liberty University is one of the largest Christian colleges in the U.S. with about 15,000 residential students and another 94,000 students online. Falwell has been under fire for several months for allegedly silencing students and professors who oppose him and leading the school as a “dictatorship.”
Published reports also allege that Falwell gave lucrative university contracts to friends and relatives. As president, Falwell makes more than $1 million a year, according to Liberty’s 2016 990 tax form.
In response, Falwell has said he’s the target of an “attempted coup” and has expressed his intent to sue those who have leaked emails from him.
UPDATE: The original copy said SACS is “‘monitoring’ the school,” not “monitoring the situation.” However, Johnson’s exact words were “monitoring the school.”