Liberty University to install blue emergency boxes following sexual assault lawsuits

The installation will cost $8.5 million, according to university president Jerry Prevo

Liberty University sign (WSLS 10)

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Liberty University’s president is detailing the next steps into making campus a “safe place.”

During Wednesday’s convocation, university president Jerry Prevo made an announcement to a crowd of students that “blue boxes” will be installed around campus, totaling a new $8.5 million project.

The blue boxes Prevo is referring to are emergency blue light boxes many universities have that allow students who feel like they’re in danger to press a button that alerts police.

“These blue boxes are going to be stationed around the university in places maybe where you could be assaulted,” said Prevo. “Where something could happen, you’re going to be able to go to that blue box, there’s going to be a camera there and let’s suppose you have been assaulted, something has happened you go there and push a button it’s going to call the police right then and there.”

[Liberty University president responds to lawsuit by former LU spokesperson claiming Title IX violations]

According to a map Prevo showed during his announcement, Liberty will install 12 of these blue boxes around campus.

Map of blue emergency boxes Liberty University plans to install (Liberty University)

“We’re serious about making Liberty University a safe place for all of you,” he told students,

Prevo also addressed the Jane Doe sexual assault lawsuit that 12 women filed against the university, saying “I do not know what happened before I came, but I can tell you this we’re not going to try and cover up anything. We’re going to look back have that investigated and also if we’ve done wrong we’re going to correct that wrong the best we can.”

The lawsuit also references the “Liberty Way,” which the women said leaders during their time at the university weaponized against them to make it difficult or impossible for them to report violations.

10 News spoke to Jack Larkin who represents the 12 women when the lawsuit was filed in July. During an interview, he told us, “For instance, you’re not permitted to drink regardless of where you are. As a result, some of the victims, who were victims of date-rape drugs, felt like they couldn’t report that to the university because if they had, they would themselves be punished. And in some instances, people who did report to the university were punished.”

Prevo said students won’t be disciplined if they’re assaulted doing something that’s not the “Liberty Way.”

He went on to say that he’s not trying to cover up, but that he’s “here to clean up if it needs to be cleaned up.

About the Author:

Nicole Del Rosario joined WSLS 10 in August 2020.