Falwell Teaches Freedom of the Press

Falwell Teaches Freedom of the Press

In a bold move to teach the importance of the First Amendment, Virginia’s Liberty University blocked the website of the Lynchburg News & Advance newspaper last week. University Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. provided a simple explanation for taking a page from the playbook of Middle Eastern tyrants: “We’re a private organization and we don’t have to give a reason and we’re not.”

University policy allows it to block websites on the grounds of obscenity. The obscenity in question was a story naming Liberty as the recipient of $445 million in federal aid last year, the most of any Virginia college, a one year increase of 56 percent. Most of the money went to students in Liberty’s online program. Federal student aid support has spurred the school’s growth and made Liberty the eighth largest university in America.

This reliance on federal aid puts socially and politically conservative Liberty in an awkward position. It has also boosted the school’s financial aid office staff from 51 to 138 employees, including a 50-person call center. Similar offices in comparable area colleges are run by two or three people.


Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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One Response to “Falwell Teaches Freedom of the Press”

  1. Mike Licht Says:


    “Liberty University blocks newspaper website for reporting on its federal financial aid haul,” Alex Pareene, Salon

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