Jerry Falwell Jr. agreed Friday to take an “indefinite leave of absence” from his roles as president and chancellor of Liberty University at the request of the board of trustees.
“The Executive Committee of Liberty University’s Board of Trustees, acting on behalf of the full Board, met today and requested that Jerry Falwell, Jr. take an indefinite leave of absence from his roles as President and Chancellor of Liberty University, to which he has agreed, effective immediately,” the university said in a statement released Friday.
The board’s request came days after Falwell expressed regret over posting a photo of himself at a costume party on a yacht during his family’s vacation that showed him wearing a T-shirt and jeans that were unzipped to expose his abdomen and underwear. His right hand was around the waist of his wife’s assistant who was wearing a tank top and unzipped shorts, exposing her midriff.
In a statement released Friday night, Jerry Prevo, chairman of the Liberty University Board of Trustees, acknowledged the “unprecedented success” and growth the university has experienced with Falwell at the helm and explained that the decision “wasn’t made lightly.”
“In the 13 years that Jerry Falwell, Jr. has served as president of Liberty University, Liberty has experienced unprecedented success, not only academically and financially, with a world-class campus, but also spiritually. As we enter our 50th Anniversary year, we have been blessed to grow to a record 120,000 students, both residential and online, and continue to fulfill our founder’s mission to Train Champions for Christ across the world.
“Unfortunately, with this success and the burdens of leading a large and growing organization comes substantial pressure. Today, my colleagues and I on the Liberty University Board of Trustees and Jerry mutually agreed that it would be good for him to take an indefinite leave of absence. This was a decision that was not made lightly, and which factored the interests and concerns of everyone in the LU community, including students, parents, alumni, faculty, staff, leaders of the Church, as well as the Falwell family.
“To support Jerry through this period, we ask that our entire community lift him up in prayer so he may be able to fulfill God’s purpose for him and for Liberty University.”
In an interview with the WLNI’s “MorningLine” Wednesday, Falwell explained the context of the photo that he posted on Instagram last weekend and subsequently deleted, saying that his wife’s assistant is pregnant and was unable to zip up her shorts.