About 300 Liberty University students traveled to Washington, D.C. Thursday to support Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who is under fire with two accusers alleging sexual assault and another claiming to have witnessed such behavior.
While the marathon Senate Judiciary Committee hearing unfolded on Capitol Hill, Liberty students attending a Concerned Women for America and Women for Kavanaugh rally. They also visited the office of Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to show their support for the Judiciary Committee chairman.
“We wanted [Kavanaugh’s] voice to be heard … and to support him and his family,” said Victoria Belk, an LU student and president of LU’s Young Women for America, a college chapter of CWA. “True equality is hearing from both sides; hearing him out was important to us.”
Thursday marked a flashpoint in the saga of the Kavanaugh confirmation process, as Christine Blasey Ford, the first of three women to accuse him, testified before the Judiciary Committee. Ford has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her as a high school student three decades ago.
Kavanaugh also spoke to the committee, maintaining his innocence in the face of the accusations.
“I swear today under oath, before the Senate and the nation, before my family and God — I am innocent of this charge,” Kavanaugh said.
Students were bused to D.C. by Liberty and Concerned Women for America, a conservative nonprofit group. At convocation on Wednesday, LU President Jerry Falwell Jr. announced that Penny Nance, a Liberty trustee and head of Concerned Women for America, had offered to fund a bus trip for 150 students to stand with Kavanaugh. LU matched that by providing space for 150 more students. In total, four buses carried students to Washington, including a red bus with a large photo of Kavanaugh’s face and “Women for Kavanaugh” emblazoned on the side.
Falwell said the move was an effort to counteract protests from Yale University students, Kavanaugh’s alma mater, and excused students who traveled to D.C. from Thursday classes.
Belk said she felt it was important for her and fellow students to share an opposing view to other protestors. She added she didn’t want to diminish trauma experienced by victims of sexual assault, but felt the allegations against Kavanaugh were not credible.
President Donald Trump has also claimed that the allegations against his nominee are false.
Others on campus, however, are not convinced.
LU student Noah Chafin told The News & Advance he opposes Kavanaugh because he believes Ford and “being on campus this week has been heartbreaking” prior to the testimony.
“As a school, we should be taking a stand for those hurt by sexual assault. Not defending individuals who lean a certain way politically,” Chafin wrote via social media, adding that he believes “we have a rape culture that evangelicals and conservatives want to deny.”
Kavanaugh was nominated by Trump to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.
The Senate could vote on his confirmation this week, following Thursday’s testimony.