The president of one of the world’s largest evangelical Christian colleges has agreed to step aside after posting a photo of himself, trousers unzipped.
Jerry Falwell, a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump, said he would take an indefinite leave of absence from Liberty University in Virginia.
The college board did not provide a reason for the move.
Mr Falwell had conceded the Instagram photo was “weird”, but defended it as “all in good fun”.
The deleted photo served as the final straw for the board of trustees as well. Throughout his tenure as president of Liberty University — which began in 2007, following the death of his father Jerry Falwell Sr. — Falwell Jr. has frequently come under criticism, including for his unabashed support of Donald Trump, a candidate many Evangelicals initially disapproved of.
“Unfortunately, with this success and the burdens of leading a large and growing organization comes substantial pressure,” Prevo said in the statement. “Today, my colleagues and I on the Liberty University Board of Trustees and Jerry mutually agreed that it would be good for him to take an indefinite leave of absence.”
“You know, it was weird because she’s pregnant so she couldn’t get her (shorts) up and I was like, trying to like — I have a pair of jeans I haven’t worn in a long time so I couldn’t get mine zipped either,” Falwell said. “So I just put my belly out like hers.”
Liberty University president urges students to be armed Falwell saidon he “should never have put it up and embarrassed her.”He added, “I’ve apologized to everybody and I promised my kids I’m going to try to be a good boy from here on out.”Prevo said the leave of absence decision “was not made lightly” and took into account “the interests everyone in the LU community, including students, parents, alumni, faculty, staff, leaders of the Church, as well as the Falwell family.
On Friday he applauded the university for making “the right call” in requesting Falwell take leave. “Liberty is such an important institution to our nation, our next generation of leaders & faith,” the congressman said on Twitter.
“Rep. Mark Walker, a Republican from North Carolina and a member of a Liberty University advisory board, called Thursday on Falwell to resign, calling his ongoing behavior “appalling.”
“I just think there’s a code that leaders have to live by, especially when you’re leading the largest Christian evangelical university in the country,” Walker told CNN’s Brianna Keilar on Friday.