Chairman of Liberty University’s Board of Trustees makes statement following Jerry Falwell Jr.’s indefinite leave of absence

Chairman of Liberty University’s Board of Trusties Jerry Prevo has called on the entire Liberty community “to lift Jerry Falwell Jr. up in prayer” following the Board’s decision, asking Falwell to step down as President and Chancellor of Liberty University.

Falwell Jr. agreed Friday afternoon to the university’s Board of Trustees’ request that he “take an indefinite leave of absence from his roles,” according to Liberty’s official press release.

This news came just days after Falwell Jr. received backlash from his Instagram post documenting pictures from his family vacation. One of the controversial images featured Falwell Jr. with his pants unzipped while posing beside a young woman he identified as his wife’s assistant. 

Falwell Jr. later spoke about the picture on Lynchburg’s WLNI 105.9 radio station, apologizing for the post.

Falwell Jr. has served as the university’s president for 13 years following his father Jerry Falwell Sr.

“To support Jerry through this period, we ask that our entire community lift him up in prayer so he may be able to fulfill God’s purpose for him and for Liberty University,” Prevo said in his statement.

To read Prevo’s full statement, click HERE. Continue with the Liberty Champion for more developments on the story. 

Hattie Troutman is the editor-in-chief of the Liberty Champion. Follow her on Twitter @hattrout


  • Marshall Buckles

    For years now, even before Jerry Falwell Sr. passed on, I have been aware of various liberals and atheists who want to destroy Liberty University. I have often debated with them in online forums defending Liberty University and the Falwells. Apparently Jerry Jr. was on vacation and clowning around as he relaxed. The pressure on him, in running the largest Christian university is probably overwhelming. So he makes a humorous post and, “bam” apparently someone took it and ran with it making it go viral. I think that Jerry Jr. does need prayer – prayer that God will help him, prayer that God will defend Jerry Jr. and Liberty University from their enemies. And when the “dust settles” in all of this I hope that everyone associated with Liberty University will realize and support that Liberty University was founded to produce “Champions for Christ” and not “wimps for heresy”. Also realize that there are a lot of atheists and liberals out there who hate Liberty University and want to do anything they can to shut it down. Be on guard against them both in prayer and in any way you can support Liberty University. And may God bless Jerry Falwell Jr. Everything I have read and heard about him indicates to me that he is a really good guy trying hard to run Liberty University well. Help take some pressure off of him and off of Liberty University. May God bless and protect Liberty University and all associated with it and may God bless and protect Jerry Falwell, Jr. and his family. AMEN!

    • Hey Marshall, I’m a proud Liberty grad live the school and the mission deeply. I have to disagree with you in regard to Jerry’s behavior. If you’ve followed him over the past few years, you’ve seen a man with little to no regard about the spiritual state of Liberty. I won’t list all his public shortcomings, but the list is LONG. Blowing off some steam doesn’t come close to describe what was happening when the last pic was taken. There’s a video you can find online as well. It was a dress up party with all the characters from a Canadian TV show that is known for its crude humor, sex and drug use. Not something a president of Liberty should be promoting. I pray that Jerry is able to get his life straightened out and can come home like the prodigal son did.

    • David Hernandez

      Thank you for your post. I am a seminary student at Liberty Online. The education is wonderful and continues to produce Champion for Christ! Dumb post? Sure, but he has done so much for LU. Forgiveness and prayers for our president. Prayers for our board who has to make decisions. I believe LU will continue as strong as ever.

      • Yes, it was a dumb post. And I have made many dumb decisions in my career too…for which I faced the hard knocks of consequences. Each time I grew up and matured more. Certainly, let’s pray for our brother in Christ, and behind the scenes seek to restore him. But let God have His perfect work in this chastisement. It was behavior unbecoming of leadership and needed to be addressed.

  • In the audio, Jerry slurs like a drunk and says the girl he is scooping (with unzipped pants) is “pregnant” … an overlooked factoid in reports.

  • Discretion is a mandatory characteristic of a Christian leader. Jerry Jr. simply did not use discretion in this instance. He needs to re-read John Maxwell’s books on leadership. I believe his dad would say the same thing. However, this is not the time to sweep thirteen years of accomplishments under the rug. Every member of the Alumni (and I am one of them) has had much to praise about Liberty since Jerry Jr. took the helm. This one bad decision, (and I believe it was a matter of poor taste than immoral behavior) does not negate Jerry Jr’s success in leading Liberty to over a hundred thousand students. We must always take in to account that leaders can make poor choices. If Jerry Jr. says this was an innocent photo, and his wife was there, and it was simply a joke – then he needs to apologize for his lack of discretion and the board needs to accept it. As far as the board is concerned, I have never read any of their biographies on a public forum, and know nothing about their behavior when they take vacations, so I can’t assume they are robed in pure white themselves. As John Maxwell would say – “Everyone needs to take a pill and calm down.”

    • It is about leadership! There is behavior, even in jest, unbecoming of leaders. It is not about forgiveness and calming down. Sometimes you cross lines (myself included) that just can’t be ignored, no matter what your previous achievements. Had the board not addressed this seeming perception of evil, it would have sent the wrong message to the world outside and negated any previous accomplishments.

  • My name is Rob Vaughn; I’m on faculty at LUCOM as a community preceptor for LUCOM students. I have been impressed with the character and quality of LUCOM students as I teach them some basics of medicine. I am a political moderate; in Lynchburg that translates to being a liberal. I won’t take the time to defend or define my worldview; it is my own.

    My point to the discussion is this: in years past, LU didn’t need anybody except conservative Christians. But now, if LU wants to get to the next level of academics or athletics – it does.

    For example, LUCOM needs more community preceptors for med students. It needs those preceptors to buy in to being a part of what LU is about.

    From my perspective, the behavior of JFJ over many years has been far different from the Provosts of UVA, or Brigham Young, or Notre Dame. It’s not even close. Those Provosts act more mercifully, more pure in heart, more meekly, and act more as peacemakers. They thirst for righteousness in my mind more than what has been seen at LU.

    And honestly, as much as the JFJ hubris is beneath the mission of LU, the accumulation of billions of dollars through online degrees of questionable value made possible by government backed loans that result in the highest default rates in Virginia – that’s the legacy that most contrasts with Christian values as many of my colleagues know them.

    So that’s just an opinion from outside the bubble. Y’all work it out, and keep sending strong students over to us for training. The world needs good doctors.

  • ‘too much power and money, boys and girls just want to have fun.

  • Well, these comments have aged well. Anyone want a do-over?

  • That is sad news for the education industry. however, the school’s treatment is very appropriate. He should know the mistake he did

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