Liberty University, one of the largest Christian universities in the United States, announced Friday afternoon that president Jerry Falwell, Jr. will be taking an indefinite leave of absence.
According to a statement from the university, the Board of Trustees’ Executive Committee met on Friday and determined that Falwell should “take an indefinite leave of absence from his roles as President and Chancellor of Liberty University.” The leave of absence will be made effective immediately.
While the board did not provide a reason for this decision, Liberty University board member Rev. Dwight "Ike" Reighard, reportedly told Religion News Service in an email that he was "concerned" about "recent events.”
The board issued statement, he added, addresses only "the beginning steps the University Board will more fully address in the days ahead."
"We all would appreciate your prayers for the right things to happen in the days ahead for our wonderful University," Reighard added.
The news comes just days after Falwell apologized for posting a photo to Instagram of himself with a woman, identified by The Christian Post as his wife’s assistant, with their pants unzipped and their stomachs out.
He captioned the photo, in part, “Lots of good friends visited us on the yacht … I promise that’s just black water in my glass. It was a prop only.”
As Christian Headlines previously reported, in an interview on WLNI’s MorningLine on Wednesday, Falwell apologized for the photo and explained that he was at a Trailer Park Boys themed costume party.
Talking about the woman standing next to him in the photo, Falwell told the radio show hosts, "She’s pregnant, so she couldn’t get her pants zipped. I had on a pair of jeans I haven’t worn in a long time, so I couldn’t get mine zipped up, either. And so, I just put my belly out like hers.”
“I should never have put it up” and “embarrassed her,” he said, noting that he has “apologized to everybody” involved.
“I’ve apologized to everybody, and I’ve promised my kids ... I’m going to try to be a good boy from here on out,” he added.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Alex Wong/Staff
Kayla Koslosky has been the Editor of ChristianHeadlines.com since 2018. She has B.A. degrees in English and History and previously wrote for and was the managing editor of the Yellow Jacket newspaper. She has written on her blog since 2012 and has also contributed to IBelieve.com and Crosswalk.com.