A lawyer for Liberty University has reportedly urged employees of the Virginia-based evangelical institution to refrain from speaking with ousted former President Jerry Falwell Jr.
The News & Advance reports that Liberty University General Counsel David Corry “informed employees they are barred from providing information about the school, taking orders, performing tasks or offering favors for Falwell while on university time.”
In an e-mail to Liberty’s employees sent out last Thursday and obtained by the Lynchburg-based daily newspaper, Corry explained that communication with Falwell gives the perception that he still has a role in managing the university.
“This impression is not well received by our supporters who do not want Mr. Falwell to be running the university behind the scenes,” Corry explained.
The email was reportedly sent on behalf of Acting President Jerry Prevo. Corry elaborated that Prevo is the only school official authorized to communicate with Falwell about university business.
“If you are uncomfortable taking a call or engaging in other types of communication with Mr. Falwell, you are free to decline to do so and you are also free to refer them to Jerry Prevo,” Corry reportedly wrote in the email.
The Christian Post reached out to Liberty University to comment on Corry’s email to employees. A response is pending.
Falwell resigned last month following a series of scandals.
In August, a photograph surfaced of him standing next to his wife’s assistant on a family boat trip. Both Falwell and the woman had their pants unzipped and their midriffs exposed.
While Falwell apologized for the “hypocritical photo,” he agreed to take an indefinite leave of absence from Liberty. A group of 50 pastors who graduated from Liberty University called on Falwell to be “permanently removed” from his post.
The turmoil continued when Falwell claimed in late August that he suffered from depression over his wife Becki’s affair with a much younger man named Giancarlo Granda, whom she met when he was working as a “pool boy” at a Miami hotel.
Granda dismissed Falwell’s claims that he was “not involved” in the affair.
“Becki and I developed an intimate relationship and Jerry enjoyed watching from the corner of the room,” Granda alleged in an interview with Reuters.
In the time since Falwell’s resignation, Liberty University has launched an investigation into “all facets” of Falwell’s presidency, which began in 2007 following the death of his father and the school’s founder, Jerry Falwell Sr.
Corry’s e-mail comes after Falwell called campus pastor David Nasser and asked him to elaborate on his allegation that the former president engaged in “sinful behavior,” the newspaper reports.
Corry also alleged that Falwell reached out to multiple Liberty employees since tendering his resignation.
Even before the chain of events leading to Falwell’s resignation began to unfold, Liberty University found itself under the media microscope after Falwell joked on Twitter this year that he had created a face mask featuring the decades-old picture of Gov. Ralph Northam, D-Va., wearing blackface.
Falwell’s controversial remark caused at least three African-American Liberty staffers to resign, including the school’s director of diversity retention.
In late June, nearly a month after Falwell sent out the now-deleted tweet, two African-American football players announced their intention to leave Liberty University. They cited a culture of “racial insensitivity” and unease with the school’s leadership as reasons for their departure.
Liberty University sent out a tweet expressing regret that “totally inappropriate comments by a professor who has been terminated” may have played a role in the football players’ decision to transfer out of the school.
“We will support and pray for them wherever they are,” the university maintained.
Shortly after the controversy surrounding Falwell’s tweet resulted in several staff members and students severing ties with the school, Liberty announced that it hired a former National Football League player and a former Liberty football coach to help promote diversity on campus.