A group of alumni of Liberty University are returning their diplomas to their alma mater with a letter protesting the close association between the school's chancellor and president, Jerry Falwell Jr., and President Trump.
The letter's focus is Trump's response to the white nationalist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, last week. While some evangelical leaders joined a broad array of voices criticizing the president's "on many sides" equivocation and "very fine people" remark, Falwell remained among Trump's staunchest defenders. The alumni letter asks Falwell to reverse his position:
"While this state of affairs has been in place for many months, the Chancellor's recent comments on the attack upon our neighbors in Charlottesville have brought our outrage and our sorrow to a boiling point. During the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, white supremacists, nationalists, and neo-Nazis perpetrated brutal violence against anti-racist protesters, murdering one woman and injuring many. Instead of condemning racist and white nationalist ideologies, Mr. Trump provided equivocal and contradictory comments. The Chancellor then characterized Mr. Trump's remarks, which included the claim that some of the persons marching as white nationalists and white supremacists at the rally were 'very fine people,' as 'bold' and 'truthful.' This is incompatible with Liberty University's stated values, and incompatible with a Christian witness." [via NPR]
"I'm sending my diploma back because the president of the United States is defending Nazis and white supremacists," said one Liberty alumnus who signed the letter, former student government president Chris Gaumer. "And in defending the president's comments, Jerry Falwell Jr. is making himself and, it seems to me, the university he represents, complicit."