LYNCHBURG, Va. – TUESDAY MORNING UPDATE
Hours after Liberty University released a statement saying Jerry Falwell Jr. agreed to resign then reversed course, he tells the Wall Street Journal that he is officially stepping down.
In a phone call to the Wall Street Journal, Falwell said he had just sent his resignation letter to the university board late Monday night. However, Politico reported that during a phone call with Falwell Monday, he said “I have not resigned,” and when asked how news reports of him resigning had gotten out, he allegedly told Politico, “I don’t know.”
On Monday night, Liberty officials said Falwell had agreed to resign earlier that day, then withdrew his resignation after media reports of his decision.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Fallwell said “the board put me on leave, took away my duties as prez, and that’s not permitted by my contract. and they put me on leave because of pressure from self-righteous people.”
According to a university statement, “additional matters came to light that made it clear that it would not be in the best interest of the university for him to return from leave and serve as president.”
Liberty University leaders released a statement late Monday night clarifying that Jerry Falwell Jr. agreed to resign as the university’s president but then “reversed course.”
Falwell agreed to resign as president and from his role on the board of directors Monday, but following media reports about it, he withdrew, according to the statement.
READ THE FULL STATEMENT FROM LIBERTY UNIVERSITY:
On the first day of classes of Liberty University’s fall term, Jerry Falwell, Jr., agreed to resign as its President and from its Board of Directors, but following media reports about the resignation, withdrew it.
The Executive Committee’s Board of Trustees asked Falwell to go on indefinite leave of absence on August 7, to which he agreed. Since that time, additional matters came to light that made it clear that it would not be in the best interest of the University for him to return from leave and serve as President. The Executive Committee met this morning and a conference call gathering of the full Board was planned for tomorrow.
Falwell responded by agreeing to resign immediately as President of Liberty University today but then instructed his attorneys to not tender the letter for immediate resignation. The Executive Committee will go forward with its meeting in the morning followed by the full Board.
Acting President Jerry Prevo said, “I call upon the University community and supporters to be in prayer for the University and for all its leadership, past, present and future, as we walk with the Lord through this stormy time of transition.”
Earlier Monday, an unnamed senior official from the university said Falwell resigned from his leadership post, the Associated Press reported. However, Falwell told several news outlets, including Politico, that he did not plan to leave permanently.
Politico reported that during a phone call with Falwell Monday, he said “I have not resigned,” and when asked how news reports of him resigning had gotten out, he allegedly told Politico, “I don’t know.”
Earlier this month, Falwell was placed on an indefinite, paid leave from the university, but leaders said in their statement Monday night that “additional matters came to light that made it clear that it would not be in the best interest of the University for him to return from leave and serve as President.”
This follows a Reuters report published Monday about a man who claimed to have had a years-long sexual relationship with Becki Falwell with Jerry’s consent.
On Aug. 7, 2020, Falwell Jr. agreed to take an “indefinite leave of absence” from his roles at the university just days after he posted, then deleted a photo of himself and a woman both in unzipped pants.
After the photo went viral, a GOP lawmaker and former Liberty University instructor called for Falwell Jr. to resign.
Falwell talked with WLNI about the photo.
During Falwell’s leave of absence, Liberty Board Chairman Dr. Jerry Prevo is serving as acting president.
Falwell became president in 2007 after his father, Jerry Falwell Sr.‘s death that same year.