Even when budgets were at their tightest here at Liberty University, the administration and trustees always supported the work of The Champion, our campus newspaper, through generous financial provision in the annual budget.
For decades, hundreds of young, aspiring journalists have written thousands of articles about issues and events of interest to our student body. And with this experience on their resume, our graduates find plenty of open doors for employment-even in an era of decreasing levels of newsroom staff.
The Chronicle of Higher Education published a profile of us with the subtitle, "How Liberty U. became an unexpected model for the future of higher education." The article quoted an education expert who stated: "Their success may be that they are not trying to be like everybody else."
The Champion has always had editorial oversight, as does any newspaper-commercial or nonprofit (The Champion is definitely the latter).
As for the recent comments by one of our professors, Bruce Kirk – comments secretly recorded by a student this past spring and handed over to an evangelical news magazine – Mr. Kirk spoke for himself. He was not speaking as a spokesman for the university, nor as a spokesman for me.
I have approved op-ed debates on both sides of highly controversial issues such as abortion and gay marriage. And I have insisted at least one op-ed on behalf of each candidate in every major election would be published. My only goal in the recent restructuring was to take me out of the mix and instead delegate all editorial decisions to a faculty member.
Over the past 10 years, I have only been asked to weigh in on a handful of editorial decisions anyhow. But each time, the press covers my involvement as if I am the only person at Liberty University who should have no say in what is published in a newspaper that is owned and operated by the University.
Given Liberty's size and the scope of our influence, along with our Christian and conservative convictions, I am sure we will never be without our critics. But as the president of Liberty University, I lead in such a way that promotes the highest level of academic and personal development among our 100,000 students. Their stories, many of which you can read about in The Champion, testify to the fruit of our vision.
Jerry Falwell Jr., is president of Liberty University.
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