Liberty University is a distinctly Christian university with a stated mission of training Champions for Christ. It is the largest and fastest growing evangelical University in the world. Students and parents appreciate and support the values of the University.
Officially recognized student clubs and organizations that bear the name of Liberty University are expected to uphold the standards and principles of the University and act in a manner consistent with its mission. For nearly two years the University has been evaluating how best to advance its mission and to support student organizations. In order to avoid the problems encountered by other faith-based educational institutions involving student organizations, Liberty University has adopted a policy that governs such groups.
The policy states, in part: “No student club or organization shall be approved, recognized or permitted to meet on campus, advertise, distribute or post materials, or use University facilities if the statements, positions, doctrines, policies, constitutions, bylaws, platforms, activities or events of such club or organization, its parent, affiliate, chapter or similarly named group are inconsistent or in conflict with the distinctly Christian mission of the University.”
Among other things, Liberty University stands for the sanctity of human life. The loss of human life through abortion is a great tragedy and we cannot remain silent when the political policies or politicians promote the destruction of innocent human life. While students may meet on campus, debate, and discuss important and controversial issues of the day, Liberty University will not lend its name or fund organizations whose stated purpose is to promote and advance issues that are contrary to its Christian mission.
Over the last several decades, Democratic clubs have existed at Liberty University as unofficial student clubs not endorsed by the school. Last Fall, the College Democrats asked that the university officially recognize their club. They promised to support only pro-life candidates and their charter provides that the club supports the right to life. Unfortunately, the club supported candidates over the last 8 months that support abortion rights. As a result, Liberty University converted the club’s status back to that of an unrecognized club. It was not banned as so many press outlets irresponsibly reported. The club can continue to exist and meet on campus like other clubs and student groups that are not officially recognized by the university. They cannot use Liberty University’s name, will not receive the small financial subsidy that officially recognized clubs receive (about $500 per year on average) and they cannot hold public events on campus. There will be no other restrictions on their activities. Liberty University encourages free speech and open debate on its campus and free speech will not be restricted.
Liberty University is not singling out the Democratic Party in this action. If a Republican club supporting abortion sought endorsement from the University, it would be denied. The sanctity of life is one of Liberty University’s non-negotiable core values and it simply cannot lend its name or financial support to any group that actively works against Liberty’s core values.
A student club of Democrats who are pro-life and pro-family, and who are seriously intent on bringing positive change to the Democratic Party, would be refreshing. But the rhetoric must match the actions, meaning that such a club seeking official recognition would not want to endorse policies or candidates contrary to Liberty’s mission. Such a group should state in its’ name its’ distinctive mission to immediately tell the world that this club stands for the core values of Liberty University.
We hope that our students bring positive change to all political parties, not just Democrats, but also Republicans and Independents. These groups could debate many topics, but agree on Liberty’s core values. Liberty will not lend its name and financial support to any club or organization that actively seeks to undermine the mission of the University and its core values.