Liberty University President and Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. has been forced to take a leave of absence from the famously conservative institution after he came under fire for a newly-deleted Instagram post.
Liberty University issued a statement confirming Falwell’s “indefinite” leave of absence from leadership on Friday:
The Executive Committee of Liberty University’s Board of Trustees, acting on behalf of the full Board, met today and requested that Jerry Falwell, Jr. take an indefinite leave of absence from his roles as President and Chancellor of Liberty University, to which he has agreed, effective immediately.
The university’s Board of Trustees’ request did not explicitly outline the reason for the abrupt decision, but the announcement came shortly after Falwell was accused of hypocrisy by many on the right and the left for violating his university’s own dress standards.
The scandal that purportedly forced Falwell’s abrupt departure arose after he posted a picture to Instagram with his arm around a woman that was not his wife with both of their pants unzipped.
— The Hill (@thehill) August 4, 2020
Falwell responded to those questioning his judgment for publishing the photo with a flippant apology in which he explained that the woman was his wife’s assistant and that they were attending a “costume party.”
“It was a costume party on a — we were on vacation. And, anyway, long story short it was just in good fun. That’s it,” Falwell said in his response to accusations of misconduct.
GOP Rep. Mark Waller (R-NC), a minister who is also involved in Liberty University leadership, called for Falwell’s resignation on Friday, tweeting: “Jerry Falwell Jr’s ongoing behavior is appalling. As a Music Faculty Advisory Board Member and former instructor @LibertyU, I’m convinced Falwell should step down.”
Falwell has yet to issue a public statement regarding the decision. This is a developing story.