Writers to LU: Reverse course

Time to confront LU

This morning, March 24, I read in The News & Advance that Jerry Falwell Jr. was inviting up to 5,000 students back to the Liberty University campus to live in dorms in the midst of this country trying to control the spread of coronavirus.

There is nothing in this decision that appears to make sense for the students, the faculty and staff at Liberty or the community at large. In fact, there is nothing in this decision that appears to make any sense.

Consider these questions. Where are the students coming back from? Who have they been in contact with? How many of the students will bring the coronavirus into our community? How much will these students venture out into our business, health care and retail community?

No one person knows the extent to which the coronavirus is going to affect this community, nation or the world. To make decisions that are in conflict with the spirit and intent of the recommendations made by the medical professionals and scientists that have been charged with confronting this pandemic is arrogant and an affront to; this community, the students being invited to return, the staff at Liberty and our nation as a whole.

It is time for the community and state to confront this poorly made decision and have Liberty University change this plan.

CHARLIE GRAINGER

Goode

Worried for LU staff, community

It is beyond belief, as residents of Lynchburg follow directions from the president and Gov. Ralph Northam to help stop the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19, that Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. is arrogant enough to believe these directions do not apply to him and his institution.

He appears to be totally unaware of the seriousness of the situation and is unconcious of the rapidity of the spread of this disease. He states of LU students “… 99 percent are of the age to not be at risk.” This has been copiously denied by medical experts who repeat this virus attacks all ages. What about the order to close facilities such as gyms and libraries? These buildings are still open on the Liberty campus. The “no larger than groups of 10” directive only applies where Falwell allows it. Furthermore, students are returning from spring break, and many of them have likely spent this time on Florida beaches. Now they return to share the facilities of Lynchburg with Lynchburg residents, not to mention their own professors, and, of course, they will be sharing this virus with us too.

I have the utmost concern for the staff and faculty at LU being required to return to the institution. This too is reckless. President Falwell, have you thought about their families and that you are putting them in a precarious situation. I doubt it. Falwell’s allowing students to return to Liberty is irresponsible and unbelievable, caring little for the residents of the city that supports his business. The gentleman has little concern for anyone; he is driven instead by the almighty dollar, certainly not the good Lord himself.

As of this writing, there are no COVID-19 cases in Lynchburg. I cannot lay blame for the first cases at Falwell’s door, but his actions will surely facilitate their origin and spread. I urge the residents of Lynchburg and surrounding counties to write to the LU Board of Directors requesting them to override Falwell’s decision to remain open and write to our governor requesting his intervention.

Thank you. Wishing you all safe social distancing and good health.

ROSAMOND B. PHILLIPS

Lynchburg

Falwell’s egregious actions

Jerry Falwell Jr. is endangering the health and welfare of our community with his actions to encourage Liberty University students to return to campus and live in the dorms while they take their courses online. The purpose of online learning is so that a student can access the course from anywhere!

It makes absolutely no sense to encourage these students to return to campus after they have been on spring break in places around the country, many of which have a higher incidence rate of COVID-19 than Lynchburg has. These students will be shopping in local grocery stores and going to various places around town. The potential for them to overload our already strained health care system in doctors’ offices and the hospitals is frightening.

Falwell is also requiring faculty to be on campus and hold in-person “office hours.” That can also be done virtually with one of the many technologies available. This university has the largest online enrollment in the country — surely, they understand how to meet their students’ needs online.

Falwell is endangering the health and welfare of our community and needs to reverse his decision. There is no reason to bring these students back to Lynchburg.

GAYLE DALY

Lynchburg

Writer to state: Shut down LU

This letter is short and not sweet, rather but angry and afraid.

Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. cares absolutely nothing about the people of our city and counties. He cares nothing about the aged and infirm. LU is not an essential entity and since it isn’t it should be shut down until it is safe to have these students who come from all over ( not to mention vacationing who knows where) and who have been taught that COVID-19 is either a hoax or a joke.

City officials, can you prevent Falwell from inflicting them on us? They will not stay in their rooms or even on campus. We all know that. When non-essential places are ordered to close, do you really think Falwell will send the students home? By then the damage will have been already done. We do not need the contagion or the extra strain on our health care facilities.

Gov. Northam, please send them home now knowing the risks.

PENNY MILSON-MARTULA

Madison Heights

LU puts dollars over lives

By continuing to remain open and inviting its students to return to live on-campus at their own discretion in the midst of a pandemic, Liberty University is once again demonstrating that it prioritizes its own bottom dollar over the well-being of the communities in and around Lynchburg.

For too long, the city government and residents of Lynchburg have allowed LU President Jerry Falwell Jr. and his minions to dictate how our lives will be impacted by their ruthless greed. His decision to remain open stands in stark contrast with the ethical determinations by colleges and universities around the country, which have closed residence halls, moved coursework online, ordered remote and flexible work options for as many employees as possible and made drastic adjustments to how they will function for the duration of the academic year.

Falwell, in an obvious bid to retain income from room and board as well as his typical science-and-fact-free existence, is a danger to the health and safety of our community.

Because of Liberty’s administration, our local health care system is poised to be overburdened, and people will suffer and likely die unnecessarily. This is immoral and unethical, and we must not tolerate it.

Whatever measures the city’s elected and appointed leadership can take to rebuke and censure Liberty and Falwell cannot be taken soon enough. Community leaders must speak out and accept whatever backlash comes with going up against our city’s greatest bully. Lives are at stake.

BETHANY WALKER

Lynchburg

Time to make a sacrifice, LU

By keeping Liberty University open, President Jerry Falwell Jr., a supposed Christian, makes clear that his primary concern is the school’s income.

He claims that “I think we have a responsibility to our students — who paid to be here … [to] enjoy the room and board they’ve already paid for.” Colleges and universities across the nation, including others in Lynchburg, are working out how to refund students’ boarding costs. Falwell clearly doesn’t want to do that.

He needs to recognize that his primary responsibility to his students during a pandemic is not “to give them the ability to be with their friends, to continue their studies, enjoy the room and board they’ve already paid for and to not interrupt their college life,” but to keep them safe, along with his faculty and staff, and the surrounding community. But instead of doing the right thing, he wants to make sure that he doesn’t have to issue refunds. Because of this, our community’s health is at risk.

Lynchburg residents and students of other local institutions are making daily sacrifices to help stop the spread. Falwell needs to reverse his reckless decision, or Liberty’s board needs to override it.

KELSEY MOLSEED

Lynchburg

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