Students of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, are suing the school over withholding refunds and credits to students for services not being administered during the COVID-19 pandemic. The lawsuit accuses the school of misleading students and their families into believing that the campus was still fully functioning when they were deciding whether or not to come back after the March spring break. The lawsuit contends that with leadership like the school’s president Jerry Falwell Jr. telling students and parents that the campus was open, Liberty University was able to collect room and board fees that they now refuse to refund.
I think it was Jesus who said, “I don’t care if Rome controls Jerusalem, pay me my rent!” It’s been a while since I’ve looked up the passage, but I’m sure it’s there. Evangelical education facility Liberty University has been a continuing focal point in the bizarre death cult battle between Trump’s ongoing denial of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rest of reality. As fears around outbreaks in the United States from the developing pandemic grew, Jerry Falwell Jr. went on news shows to tell them how this pandemic was mostly a panic cooked up in a partisan effort to unseat Donald Trump. Then he was promptly forced to close down the Liberty University campus because we are in the middle of an actual pandemic.
The technical point here is that according to CNN, Liberty University offered up a $1,000 credit to students who had decided to leave the campus residential halls during the pandemic. However, this “credit,” good for the fall semester, excludes graduating students and students who were not planning or could not plan to be on campus this coming fall. On top of this, that credit could only be received if students and their families indicated they wanted the credit by March 28. Considering that Falwell Jr. and other officials were boasting that the Liberty University campus was staying open late into March, the March 28 date does strike one as rather suspect.
Falwell Jr. has attempted to use this public health and economic crisis to push forward his general quasi-theocratic agenda, which includes a definition of democracy where the amount of land one owns is commensurate with one’s political power. So being a coldhearted landlord willing to steal people’s money under an Act of God-type clause is a perfect distilling of what Falwell Jr. and his fellow travelers really are.