LYNCHBURG, Va. – Days after Liberty University leaders announced a third-party investigation into Title IX violations, advocates for policy reform and justice for sexual assault survivors are speaking out -- saying the school is not taking it as seriously as they would like.
The university released a statement Friday, saying the Board of Trustees voted unanimously for an independent review of its Title IX policies.
“We think it’s very arrogant. It definitely lacks a depth in transparency, which we were calling for,” said Hailey Wilkinson, a representative for Justice for Janes, a student-led organization.
“The only transparency that we’re seeing here is that this is a transparent attempt to try and protect itself,” said Kendall Covington, student representative for the Save 71 advocacy group.
Liberty’s statement reads in part, “The whole world knows that the last year has been challenging for Liberty University… What they may not know is that these challenges are only making us stronger. This has become a banner year for Liberty University.”
But advocates including attorney Rachael Denhollander, who sat down with LU President Jerry Prevo for 90 minutes Thursday, say the investigation needs to include other areas as well. Denhollander posted a series of tweets expressing disappointment in LU’s announcement.
“What the school needs is an audit on structure, culture and policy,” said Covington.
“Without looking at those, you cannot figure out the root cause of these issues, and therefore you’re lacking the inability to fully express the depth of the situation,” said Wilkinson.
The advocates say they’ll keep pushing for change.
“Prevo wants us to let go. Prevo wants us to forgive and forget. And we’re certainly not going to do that until we see actual, honest attempt at change,” said Covington.
We reached out to the university for additional comment, but have not heard back.