Liberty VP Hine Speaks Out Against Liberty Way Changes

As controversial legislation floats around Liberty’s Student Government Association, many debates have arisen, but Vice President of Student Affairs Mark Hine is confident in the firm foundation of Liberty University.

Recently, SGA has proposed resolutions to the Liberty Way that would allow off-campus responsible drinking, foul language in moderation and usage of tobacco products. Hine, who believes any of these changes would have a negative effect on the core of the university, said these changes will never happen.

“For me, for students to think that they can show up here and propose that some of the core of Liberty is not for them, and therefore want to change it, I say, respectfully, there is no way that is ever going to happen as far as I’m concerned,” Hine said. “Leadership at Liberty has listened to students, and where we felt like we could make this a place that was inviting and didn’t hurt the academic mission of the university or the spiritual mission of the university, we’ve made change after change after change. What I think needs to be understood is that there are some changes that, if allowed to be made, would change the core of what Liberty is about and the special place that it is.”

Hine said trying to change these touchy aspects of the Liberty Way is never going to be effective, and discouraged students from wasting their time.

“To (paraphrase) Jim Croce — ‘You just don’t spit in the wind, you don’t tug on Superman’s cape,’ you’re on a fool’s errand if you believe that we’re somehow going to allow smoking and drinking and cussing,” Hine said. “You’re really wasting a bunch of time even proposing that at a place like Liberty University.”

Hine said they would not allow the changes more on a matter of principle.

“People have different opinions about alcohol and the consumption of alcohol, I get that,” Hine said. “Christians are all over the map on that one. But for Liberty University we’ve decided ‘this is not a good idea, this is not something we’re going to sanction, period. It’s one thing to have a conversation, it’s another thing to have a conversation and say this is what we really want.”

Matthew Lofgren, Addyson Garner and AJ Strom, the three members of the House of Delegates that proposed the off-campus drinking bill for legal students, believe they had placed enough safeguards that the bill would do more good than harm.

“Students who are 21 who live off campus is the only group in that resolution that would be allowed to drink,” Strom said. “Twenty-one-year-old students who lived on-campus would not be able to participate in that, and the reason that we decided to do that was so the university would have full and complete control of the environment on campus.”

The bill had penalties for abuse of the privilege like a fine for drunkenness. Lofgren proposed the idea when he was reviewing the Liberty Way and thought it was unclear of how it handled subjects like drinking.

According to Lofgren, with the wording of the Liberty Way, whenever his parents pull out a glass of wine at dinner, he is essentially participating in a social gathering where alcohol is served and could be fined for being there.

“That’s my main concern with how the Liberty Way is right now,” Lofgren said.  “It doesn’t actually express what the administration wants punished, it just says it will punish anything that could be remotely conceived as that.  So, we need to actually punish what is bad and allow for students’ discretion when they are not causing a notable disruption.”

The same concept applied to when Lofgren proposed the freedom of speech bill, which would decrease the punishment for foul language and would create new sanctions around the subject.

“It is a grey issue in Christian circles, so I felt that was something that probably should be changed because I felt the root of this issue wasn’t the words themselves, but the attitude,” Lofgren said. “If someone simply said an obscene word, they probably wouldn’t get fined, but if they said an obscene word in an abusive manner to someone, that would be worth punishing because that would disrupt peaceable order.”

The delegates said the proposed bills are in line with the subject of Christian liberties, or topics that believers are told to use their discretion on, as it was taught in a required biblical worldview class.

“I understand administration’s perspective,” Strom said. “I understand why they didn’t like the resolution, but I think they need to have trust in their students, and I’m not exactly sure how anything more that the students could be doing to show trust, to ensure trust with administration. I think the student body at Liberty is great, and I think on principle this is something that should be approved because I think that is what’s taught at the university, and I think on that principle alone, what’s taught should be reflected in policy.”


  • “Recently, SGA has proposed resolutions to the Liberty Way that would allow off-campus responsible drinking, foul language in moderation and usage of tobacco products.” WHAT???? I first thought this was some kind of a joke. Someone is testing the waters. What’s next? I hope Liberty University is not seriously considering this. When someone applies to attend a university they should already know what that school stands for and Liberty, being a Christian school, should not stand for this. I agree totally with Mr. Hine’s statement and the SGA who support this should be ashamed of themselves. Also, by whose standard are they going to go by when determining the “moderation” of foul language or “responsible drinking.” What if my standards are higher or lower than the next person. How are we to decide then? Is this what we want Liberty University to be known by? Again, I say LU is a Christian school, or that is what I was told when I received my BS degree. Come on guys, this is absurd. This sounds like something you would hear happening at one of these secular universities. Let’s stick with what is most important and that’s making disciples, not drinking, smoking, and cussing. If that is what you want to do, then go somewhere else…..

    • I agree with David. If you attend Liberty we don’t smoke, drink or chew and go with girls that do. It’s called Liberty, so if you don’t like it you have the Liberty to leave.

    • There isn’t anything wrong with enjoying a beer. Having a dry campus and prohibiting those under 21 is a smart and well within their rights. But why should someone who wants to attend their M.Div program at 24 years old be forced to give up having a beer with their friends off-campus? Drinking is really only a “gray” area with baptists. Liberty should be more accommodating for Christians who have no problem with drinking and leave it up to the individual.

  • As a former LU student and then an officer with LUPD, I think that this is just one more way for Christians to play with what the world has to offer. The changes that have been made to the Liberty Way since my attendance there (dress code, facial hair, long hair for males etc. ) in my opinion have just started a slippery slope of compromise. To have students who propose these things, to me, speaks volumes as to how the lines of separation from this world has become for many young Christians. Let’s flirt with the things of this world and try to play chameleon. Let’s not take a hard stand against such things and stand in solidarity. It saddens me to see this. I am only 39 years old and to see how much difference a generation can make in our stance for Christ is concerning. We are called to be in this world, but not of it. To those who made the proposals I offer one word of warning….be hot or cold, do not be lukewarm about your Christian testimony or be in danger of being vomited out of Gods mouth.

  • Christian J. Lasval

    Appreciate the piece! It’s important to report on what’s going on in our student government. If I could make a suggestion though; try reaching out to students who support Dr. Hine’s stances on the Liberty Way’s policies. There were a significant number of students who opposed the resolutions mentioned in this article but none of them were asked for comment.

  • I can see where the members of the House of Delegates are coming from, with me being a 26 year old U.S. Army Military Police veteran. However, I do not see anything positive that would come out of any of these pieces of legislation. Using tobacco products of any sort only creates an addiction with no positive results, and the same can be said of alcohol. On top of that, I can guarantee that the number of sexual assaults, sexual harrasments, domestic disputes, assaults, and DUI’s would go through the roof if alcohol was aloud, even off campus. On top of this, cursing would do no good in any situation. These pieces of legislation reflect the Liberty community in a poor manner and it appears like they want to be more of the world and conformed to it than to follow in the footsteps of the Lord and setting an example of Christ’s love. I fully support VP Hine in these matters because these pieces of legislation only serve to drive a wedge in the LU community.

  • I believe that this is a slippery slope. Once you allow one of these, it will grown bigger and bigger. Liberty was founded on core principles and it would be a disgrace to allow what these students are proposing.

  • I attended Liberty University from 2000-2004. My opinion of the Liberty Way was that of a guardrail on the road placing a good bountry not only to protect the student but also the name of Jesus. In my whole time there I only received one reprimand for a water ballon thrown in a dorm mates room who threw one in my room first. Moving boundaries or towing the line is asking for someone to slip up and fall into sin. We are called to Holy, set apart from the world.

  • Thank you Mark Hine for speaking against this nonsense. If people want to dishonor the Lord by cursing, drinking and smoking then they don’t belong here. There are sadly many other schools where they can do such things. Now, how about re-assessing the secular and suggestive music you are playing, particularly at the football games?

    • I agree with Sue Palmer. I appreciate Mark Hine’s remarks. We are a Christian campus for a reason. If you don’t agree with the rules, there are plenty of campuses within a 60 mile radius of Lynchburg that would accept you and your standards you desire. LU has given in to some standards that I’m not in total agreement such as the dress code. I’ve even approached students on campus asking them if their attire reflects Christ. Sadly, a couple of the students were RA’s!!

  • This is a slippery slope. Liberty is not near as strict as it was in the 80’s when I went there. The privileges the students have now are plenty. It doesn’t NEED to be spread any farther.

  • Alcohol is not the real issue rather the issue is what alcohol does to the body. Understand we are to be different from the world therefore alcohol is not wise because it does control your actions! Ask any cop who pulls you over for drunk driving or shuts down a frat party gone very wrong . As for language God gave us a knew way of thinking and acting as believers so why in the world would a Christian young person believe it’s just ok to cuss! As for tobacco products Dr Jerry Falwell said it very aptly, smoking won’t send you to hell but it will make you smell like you’ve been there. I went to Liberty, I work part time for Liberty and I love Liberty University. Do not be fooled by the wiles of the evil one , he continues to whisper in our lives , it’s ok it won’t hurt anyone, friends and students it will and it does! Let us not turn from the Lord our God to the god of this world in order to bring in students who want no part of the real deal, a great Christian education at the premier Christian University. You go VP Hine, I am all in on where you stand.

  • We should not approve this! We should not be allowed to drink smoke or cuss as a liberty student and I can say that I
    As I am a student currently at LU!

  • There are certain things that set liberty apart and above the status quo. Why would we want to chabge these things?

  • What part of “obey your leaders and submit to them” does Strom not understand? He can go to a university that allows what he wants to do, or he can start a university that allows what he wants to do. It is the conceit of Progressives that they think they should be able to change every institution and every law to suit their own preference and proclivities, regardless of what the owners or leaders of that institution think. I hope that Mr. Strom has not bought into that idolatry of self.

    Progs, bake your own cake!

  • I graduated from Liberty in 2012, and it was reps, reps, reps for everyone! I had one RA come over three times to tell me I was sitting too close to my boyfriend in Demoss, and I was literally sitting beside him not on him! Nowadays when I visit campus it seems things have changed in regard to the Liberty Way and not for the better. I saw two girls jogging in their sports bras last spring! I would like to think that by the time my daughters are ready to pick a college, Liberty’s Christian standards won’t be completely different from when I attended…

  • Liberty Mom of Two

    Thank you VP Hine and the others who have spoken out against these changes. I have two children at LU, a Junior and a Freshman. My Junior was disappointed with the changes already made just since she’s been there. They both choose LU to be in a Chritian environment. They heard and saw plenty at their K-12 public schools. Alcohol is already an issue for some LU students. The guardrails are there for a purpose. Please keep standing for biblical values and as safe an environment for the students as possible. Alcohol, smoking and cursing have absolutely NO place at LU. Students can make their own decisions AFTER they leave LU.

  • I’m fascinated by this. Jesus drank — and encouraged others to do so as well (in his first miracle and arguably when establishing the sacrament of communion) — but a university founded in his name seems terrified of their students behaving the same way. This is one of the last institutions that can base their legislation on the bible — and yet they choose not to. Like I said, it’s just fascinating.

    • so true!!! thank you for being the only person to comment on this side of the matter.

      I think grey areas are always going to be disputed amongst believers. I don’t know if i agree necessarily with allowing tobacco on campus, but i’d like to know I can drop a swear word here and there without looking around me waiting to be reprimanded and fined by a fellow student. you don’t go to college to be parented. part of college is becoming an adult and Liberty certainly restricts that freedom and takes away the choice of students regarding certain things. people are going to make mistakes, but going to a school where “biblical principles” (really, just Liberty’s own standards they decided upon) are forced on you does not bring anyone closer to Jesus or increase their desire to follow Him. the drinking rule at Liberty is DEFINITELY very unclear and it’s ridiculous that at 21, when the United States allows you to consume alcohol that a university would think their rules take precedence over the national drinking age!! i’ll never understand it.

      this is all coming from a Liberty student and devoted follower of Christ. I love my Heavenly Father more than anything and I desire to honor Him with my life everyday, which is why I felt the need to speak out against the unnecessary reasoning behind rules that stifle a person’s free will, given to them by God Himself. rules that eliminate the daily choices that come with growing up in a world that is very, very lost and desperately in need of Christ. if we live in a bubble at Liberty for 4+ years and become accustomed to that sheltered lifestyle, what good does that do for our relatability to others? to non-believers? to people who are broken and addicted and lost and stuck in their sin? how can we reach them if they see us as “holier than thou”, refusing to associate with those who do drink, smoke, cuss, etc. daily?

      salvation will never be based on whether or not we do any of those things. the love of Christ compels is to change from our old life to a new one, finding purpose in His kingdom. Liberty needs to allow their students to make the choice to seek new life all on their own.

    Tobacco ruins lives.
    Alcohol in excess ruins lives.
    Cussing shows poor self control
    None of these behaviors set Christians apart from the world.

    How are any of these behaviors setting anyone at LU apart from the world. Romans 12:2.

  • It was a good proposal from the SGA, and an equally good rebuttal from VP Hine. No harm in the SGA bringing it up. If anything, it forces a bit of introspective reflection, which is a good thing. No sense in getting your panties in a wad over it. Sounds to me like there was a well thought out proposal that was met with a response grounded in personal conviction. Peaceful discourse throughout. This should be celebrated, not denigrated.

  • The rule change request is misunderstood. The students seeking the rule clarification are excellent students. The request is for legal age, off campus treatment the same as faculty. If legal age faculty can drink, smoke and use bad language should an adult student who is married, age 28, with 2 children not be able to do the same? Does the faculty have a rule banning alcohol? Let us be honest there is drinking right now on campus and rules not being enforced. As a parent I do not want the rules to be changed. I want currect rules enforced. But I think those of you slamming the rule change request should read it. It has stronger enforcment of illegal drinking, smoking, bad language on campus. As a parent if you have rules in the home but do not enforce them then your children will not respect the authority. If your behavior as a parent is not a good example then your children will not respect you and follow your leadership. If LU is going to be a christian school then be one. Stop on campus drinking and yes stop playing secular music at football games. You are either of this world or not. Jesus makes that clear. I love LU but you have to work hard everyday to keep it LU!

  • Mark Hine has been around since the 80s in leadership positions. He has a complete view of the changes in the Liberty Way over time and why the university was started – to be different and make a difference. I say this as someone who may not share a stance believing all alcohol consumption is wrong. But for LU, in their college setting, this is something they make clear to incoming students. And it’s as simple as this, when you leave or graduate from the institution you are free to do as you wish. There seems to be no great reporting or studies out there that show alcohol consumption by college students (and realistically we are not dealing with the 18,19, or 20 year old student population) is beneficial. On the contrast we see many stories where it has resulted in tragedy. Simply removing it as an option by a private university is their choice and if you don’t want to go along with it then don’t go to LU.

  • As an alum of Liberty I always found it quite comical when students were discontent with the rules of Liberty. Before I stepped foot on campus I read every line of the Liberty Way and made sure it was something that I could uphold and honestly I was proud to uphold it. I could have went to any University I wanted to and in fact I transferred from a public university (University of Connecticut) after being there for 3 years to Liberty. I could have all the partying, drinking, lusting and cursing I wanted and the school could do nothing about it because it was my freedom. I remember the first day I saw Liberty I said there’s a school where things are different. And it was my understanding that students came to Liberty with the mindset of wanting to be different and wanting to uphold Christ. Liberty has a standard, it should not be ashamed of that standard, nor is the standard for everyone. No one is forced to go to Liberty University and if this Liberty standard is not for you then, there are plenty of other schools where you can exercise whatever standard you want. I find it really hard to believe that students want to change the core of Liberty for something they only have to deal with for 4 years-8years (and really not at all if they choose somewhere else) and then they are going to be on their merily way. I does not make sense.

  • “Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people;
    once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

    Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers [in this world] to abstain from the sensual urges [those dishonorable desires] that wage war against the soul.

    Keep your behavior excellent among the [unsaved] Gentiles [conduct yourself honorably, with graciousness and integrity], so that for whatever reason they may slander you as evildoers,
    yet by observing your good deeds they may [instead come to] glorify God in the day of visitation [when He looks upon them with mercy].”

    ~1 Peter 2:10-12 (AMP)

  • Hold the line Dr. Hine! As a proud Liberty alum and former SGA member, I feel the students making these proposals are a disgrace to SGA and should resign.



  • Matthew Lofgren can have every change he desires…transfer to UVA

  • Thank you VP Hine for your conviction to stand for what is right. Most people will attend Liberty 4 years. If you want to drink after that, go ahead, but you should know what Liberty stands for before you enroll. The education you receive at Liberty is well worth relinquishing some liberties for a couple years of your life. You’ll be just fine if you give up drinking and cussing for 4 years. In turn, you might even decide that it’s a good idea. There are so many college age students sucked into alcohol addiction, why would we want to put that stumbling block in front of them. i attended Liberty 94-98 and I didn’t like all the rules but many of them I have continued to keep in my own life because I realized it was a better way of life. Liberty helped me establish a very solid framework for decisions in my life and I am thankful for those rules for those 4 years to help steer me in decision making processes that I have continue to practice. Attending Liberty is a privilege and if students need to sacrifice something to be there, they will come out alright in the end.

  • E. Marshall Buckles (LU Alumna Beth's Daddy)

    My daughter attended Liberty and loved it. I have kept up with what goes on there for some years now since even back before my daughter was born. I have long felt that Liberty is an EXCELLENT alternative to all of the THOUSANDS of secular colleges and universities where one can go for triple majors in alcohol abuse, drug abuse and promiscuity. If some current Liberty students cannot or will not uphold Liberty’s values then they need to LEAVE and go to college elsewhere. Liberty is about producing “Champions for Christ” and NOT about submerging itself in the slime of hell bound modern culture.

  • I really don’t think this issue would make a difference if it passed. I’ve seen
    Liberty students smoke, drink, and swear off campus so honestly if it did pass I do not think there would be any additional problem they just couldn’t get in trouble. Last, this is an issue of Christian liberty.

    • As a member of the first graduating class of Liberty University in 1985 (prior to that it was Liberty Baptist College,) and as I read these posts I keep coming back to two truths.

      First, what is the outcome of mankind’s first encounter with Satan in the Garden of Eden? Mankind disobeyed God, and sold their birthright for a piece of fruit! Satan is a liar, and he counterfeits everything, making the “forbidden fruit” look desirable. Can a man take fire into his bosom and not have his clothes burned? (Prov 6:27) Yes, the passage speaks of adultery, but by extension is it too much of a stretch to extend the truth to other things that can only harm to the body?

      Second, consider the reputation that Liberty University has worked hard to develop over the years, starting with the dream of Dr. Falwell Sr., to have a full-fledged CHRISTIAN university, standing on the principles of the Bible, and separated from the world. If a “blind eye” was turned toward smoking, drinking, and swearing “off-campus” by the administration, what would the response of a watching Lynchburg be? Yes, students smoke, drank, and swore back in the early 80’s, but those activities were very strongly frowned upon. Discovery brought rapid consequences. Why would one desire to undermine the standards the school was founded on, based on a personal preference.

      Was Liberty perfect when I attended there? No. Is Liberty a perfect now? NO! As long as we have our mortal bodies, and as long as Satan is alive and seeking whom he may devour, there will always be bad decisions made by people who should know better as heirs with Christ. While “well-meaning” and “carefully worded” to avoid ambiguity, this is a bad idea. If anyone wants the freedom to engage in such activities without penalty, there are plenty of other schools of higher learning to attend,
      We have the freedom in Christ to not be bound by the law, but that doesn’t give us the right to choose things that harm the “temple of the Holy Spirit.” As many in this thread have

  • I’m an alum from the ancient days. I remember the more legalist “fundamentalist” days. I have always been a Liberty supporter but was very pleased that Jerry Sr left those old ways behind and allowed the university to be a little more mainstream on things that were often preferences rather than principles…long hair on guys. pants on women to classes, music, dress code, movies, etc.

    There is value in allowing certain freedoms to young adults as they learn to “own” their own faith. I’m good with that. I can understand the desire for some students wanting to have a discussion about allowing non-abuse of alcohol although I see way more problems than value. But cussing and smoking? LOL. What value is there in that? Some things you just have to say “no” to. IMO these fall in that category.

    • I forgot to add to me previous post….

      While keeping the relaxed rules from over the last many years but saying “no” to alcohol, tobacco and cursing, can we do something about having so many of these Trump supporters at Convo? Scarramucci? Paula White? Prosperity preachers? All because they support Trump? C’mon. We should be better than that.

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