The Honorary President of the University of Liberty deleted a tweet on Monday showing a man with a black face and another with a hood and a Ku Klux Klan robe, after black graduates and religious leaders spoke out against him and his “inflammatory rhetoric” in recent years.
This tweet, Falwell said, was intended to “remind everyone of the governor’s racist past.”
Instead, he sent an open letter to black Christian leaders and graduates. He also resigned: Liberty University Online Trainer and Pastor Christopher House
resigned after seeing the tweet. The House, which is black, is also one Associate Professor at Ithaca College
A team of 35 black shepherds, ministry leaders and former Liberty University student-athletes sent a letter to Falwell this month
asking him to “stop this infant behavior”, citing the tweet as the latest example.
“While your tweet may have been joking about the governor of Virginia, it shed light on the painful history of slavery and racism in our nation,” the letter said. “Tweeting with a robe and hood and a black face mask may seem funny, but this tweet is the action of a political commentator or activist and does not fit or be accepted for the leader of one of the largest Evangelical Christian schools in the world.”
In response, Falwell said Monday that he was aware that “he has revived the trauma caused by the image and insults some by using the image to make a political point.”
“Based on our long-standing relationship, they have unequivocally understood that this was not my intention, but because it was the result, I have deleted the tweet and apologized for any damage caused by my efforts, especially within the African-American community.” wrote on Twitter.
ONE Change.org report
encouraged Liberty University graduates, school, current students and parents to sign if they agreed to the letter. Nearly 40,000 people have signed up so far.
About 85,586 students attend the Evangelical Christian University in Lynchburg, Virginia, according to State Council for Higher Education for Virginia
. About 4,500 of these students are black – less than 10% of the student body.
Falwell’s recent controversy over coronaics
Falwell, a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump, has sparked much controversy since the end, most of which has to do with coronas. In an interview with Fox News in March, he said people were “overreacting” to the pandemic.
When Liberty University reopened to 1,000 students by the end of March against the guidance of government officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Falwell said concerns about returning college students were exaggerated.
And in April, a lawsuit against the university claimed to have benefited from the corona crisis by reducing university services but not reimbursing the expenses of students who were paid for those services.