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Falwell says he's resigned from Liberty University

Posted at 2:35 PM, Aug 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-25 17:43:37-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Jerry Falwell Jr. says he has resigned as head of evangelical Liberty University.

Falwell confirmed his departure in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, a day after the school said he had submitted, then rescinded his resignation.

Falwell, son of university founder the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, stepped down amid conflicting claims about a sexual relationship his wife had with a younger business partner.

He had already been on a leave of absence after a photo he posted on social media caused an uproar.

The scandal at Liberty University is making headlines across the country.

Locally, alumni of the university is speaking out.

Liberty University class of 2017 graduate Lori Massengill feels like many other graduates right now.

"I want to be associated with Liberty University. I do not want to be associated with Jerry Falwell Jr.," said Massengill.

"I think for Jerry's sake and for the sake of the University, that they should fire him immediately, to not enable any more behavior and that he gets the help he definitely, at least by the accusations, seems to need," said Pastor Josh Rowland, class of 2014.

The graduates CBS 6 spoke with say the Evangelical Christian University was a great place for higher education.

"I loved my years there," said Rowland.

"Liberty was amazing for me, it changed me as a person, it helped me grow, I loved every minute of being at Liberty, it was a great atmosphere," added Lori Massengill.

Now, allegations of a six year sexual relationship with a former pool attendant involving Falwell Jr. and his wife.

"Instead of celebrating the greatness of Liberty University, we are almost having to defend ourselves based on the actions of the former President," said Massengill.

"His constant showing up in the news has been a bit of a disappointment because it was a great place and a great spirit there and so again, I'm saddened but in some ways I'm relieved that he can move on and hopefully the university can recover from this," added Rowland.

As for the future of one of the largest private non-profit universities in the country, some say, it could be in jeopardy.
Some alumni say what happens next is important.

"We need a Leader that will take Liberty into the direction it was intended to go," said Massengill.

"You know we always talk about the message of Christianity is that forgiveness is out there for anyone. But that doesn't mean you ever need to be reinstated as the president of the university," said Rowland.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.