LYNCHBURG, Va. – Some Liberty University students, faculty and alumni are suggesting North Carolina state representative Mark Walker be the university’s next president.
Earlier this month, Walker, a board member and former professor, called for Jerry Falwell Jr.’s resignation on social media and CNN.
“I just think that there is a code leaders have to live by, especially when you are leading the largest Christian evangelical university in the country,” Walker said on CNN on August 7.
Walker declined Thursday to do an interview with 10 News. His office sent 10 News the following statement:
“Congressman Mark Walker has heard from Liberty University students, faculty, alumni, and board members. While the outreach is appreciated and humbling, Walker believes it is paramount that Liberty focuses on its strengths in the next step of its healing: students and faith.”
But there are some who think Walker isn’t the best fit for the school, partly because of a comment he made during a news conference in 2017.
“The accomplished men and women of the RSC (Republican Study Committee), and women. If it wasn’t sexist, I would say the RSC eye candy, but we’ll leave that off the record,” Walker said.
This comment was problematic for many, including the co-founder of Save 71, Dustin Wahl. Save 71 is an alumni organization advocating for reform at Liberty University.
“Mark Walker referring to women as ‘eye candy’ is what Liberty students are sadly used to because they’ve witness misogyny from Liberty’s President as well as other political leaders who Falwell has chosen to associate Liberty with. So, Liberty students don’t need any more of that,” said Wahl.
Wahl said more than 2,000 students and alumni are working to save the school’s reputation after Falwell’s recent controversies. The group recently compiled a list of former administrators, faculty and graduates who they believe should be on the search committee for the new president.
“We don’t want to say we know who the next president should be ourselves. We want to tell the board, ’You guys need to empower Liberty’s best assets to choose that new president,’” Wahl said.
Wahl said the board already has their suggested list, and it’s time the school stepped away from politics and stuck to its mission.
“They need to focus on exclusively on training young Christians and not aligning with any politician’s own vision for the school,” Wahl said.
The board’s next scheduled meeting is Oct. 30.
10 News asked school leaders when they will meet about the search committee but had not heard back at the time this article was published.