A new petition by a student-led group “Liberty United Against Falkirk” is calling for Liberty University, Virginia to shut down its Falkirk Center, a campus think tank known for promoting conservative political activism.
Matt Morris, a Liberty freshman who created the online petition last month, believes the university is aligning itself with a political movement that goes against its founding principles.
Falkirk Center was founded late last year by then-Liberty President Jerry Falwell Jr. and Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk, who has close ties with President Donald Trump. Besides upholding Christian faith, the think tank also stresses “bold, unapologetic engagement and initiative on the part of every conservative American.”
Concerns Raised by the Petition
The petition expresses concern about the think tank’s views, claiming it is misrepresenting Liberty students and the Christian church. “We are concerned that the Falkirk Center has become a gateway for wolves in sheep’s clothing — people who claim Christ’s name because it is convenient for their personal or political gain,” the petition said.
Fellows at Falkirk include big names from Trump’s inner circle such as Dr. Sebastian Gorka, former deputy assistant to the president, and Jenna Ellis, lawyer and legal adviser to Trump’s re-election campaign. In fact, Falwell, who stepped down as university president last year following a string of scandals, was also a prominent supporter of Trump’s 2016 campaign.
The petition, which contains posts shared by Falkirk’s social media profiles praising the Trump administration while taking a dig at liberals and Democrats, concluded that “the Falkirk Center constantly preaches the message that the church needs to defend Donald Trump at all costs and rescue western civilization.”
Action Taken by Petitioners
Falkirk openly waded into the recent presidential election by funneling millions of dollars from the school’s funds to promote the Trump administration. The think tank also bought over $50,000 worth of political ads on Facebook in favor of Trump and other GOP candidates.
The center’s partisan nature has irked several students, faculty members, and alumni who are now openly speaking out against university leadership. Over 450 students and alumni members have signed the online petition so far, Morris said in a statement.
“When an organization like the Falkirk Center is attached to Liberty, it impacts the reputation of not just our school, but our students as well,” student body president Constance Schneider wrote on Twitter.
We have had dozens of conversations with students who are embarrassed to claim the name of our school due to the rhetoric that comes from this center…
— Constance Schneider (@constanceider) December 22, 2020