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Students speak out at first Chancellor Q&A

March 27, 2009 : Paul McLinden

Rainy weather did not keep concerned students away from the Towns-Alumni Lecture Hall last night where Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. and a panel of 11 university administrators hosted their first Chancellor Q&A.

Panels represented SAO, Center4ME, Information Services, Dining Services, Commuter Affairs, LUPD, Financial Aid, Auxiliary Services, Spiritual Development and CASAS.

Students lined the center aisle of the year-old lecture hall to ask about everything from financial aid and housing to parking, food service and capital improvements.

“We’ve spent $38 million since July of ’07 on campus renovations,” said Falwell, which include major upgrades to VCAR, the DeMoss Learning Center, dormitories, hallways and academic departments.

The chancellor noted that many of the large improvements, like a year-round ski slope, come from donors. He attributed the new bookstore to Barnes & Noble and new dining facilities to Sodexho. He said upgrades to certain facilities, like the Center for Worship, are “at the top of the list,” while others, like an expanded stadium, are on hold for now.

There are plans to relocate the Career Center to a more prominent location, Falwell said. “With jobs as scarce as they are, we want that [facility] front-and-center.” Other likely additions include the Creation museum, Civil War museum and a premier shooting facility.

When asked about efforts to make the campus more “green,” Charles Spence, Director of Planning and Construction, rattled off a number of ways the school is conserving energy — and ultimately keeping tuition low. Water savers, fluorescent lighting, insulation, reflective roofing and occupancy sensors are just a few measures in place. Plus all non-critical computers will soon be configured to shut down when not in use. More visibly, hundreds of trees have been planted on campus in the last few weeks as part of a campus beautification effort, Spence said.

The chancellor assured inquiring students that professors undergo rigorous screening before teaching at Liberty, “but after that, we rely on peer review and student evaluations” to know if they are staying on course. “If professors are not teaching from a Christian worldview, we want to know about it,” he said.