After Liberty University president Jerry Falwell, Jr. tweeted a racist picture featuring one man in blackface and another in a KKK costume, all as part of some pathetic attempt at a political joke, Black staffers have resigned and spoke out about how ashamed they are by his actions.
The most vocal critics of Falwell, however, are usually people who have other jobs or no longer work there at all. They can condemn from a distance because what’s Falwell going to do about it?
It’s obviously much harder to criticize from within the Liberty bubble because Falwell could simply fire you. (It’s not like anyone has job protection there.)
But that’s why this is such an interesting update to the story: LeeQuan McLaurin, a Liberty graduate who spent years working as the school’s “director of diversity retention,” is one of the people who resigned due to Falwell’s racism… and he’s trying to help others walk out the door with him.
To facilitate that, McLaurin created the “LUnderground Railroad” — a GoFundMe page with the goal of raising money to help Black professors who want to leave Liberty but need a financial cushion to do so.
This fund is being set up for all the LU employees that would like to leave, but are afraid of how it will affect them financially. Those conflicted with their identity as BIPOC, but also need to make a living through a tough economic situation. Not a penny of this money will go to me. God has already been more than gracious to me. It will be divided amongst the BIPOC employees who have already left, or need to leave, but are unable to leave due to financial issues. The goal is to assist at least 15 former LU employees (although there are many more) with $2,000 each ($30,000) which can help many through at least a month of basic expenses–a month where they can focus their efforts on searching for a workplace that will provide a safe, supportive environment where they can thrive as BIPOC, and leave behind a toxic, unhealthy workplace that never did. Any amount that you give will be greatly appreciated.To be eligible for the emergency relief funds, employees must have experienced racial trauma at the hands of the university and resigned from their positions due to it… I will be posting updates about employees able to be helped and served by these funds.
You would think, at a Christian school, such a situation wouldn’t even arise. Instead, McLaurin is working to raise enough cash to help 15 people. How many more will he have to turn away?! The fact that so many people may be in the same situation is a damning indictment of Liberty itself. Never has a Liberty diploma carried more shame and well-deserved stigma for students.
McLaurin has raised more than $10,000 already.
For what it’s worth, a petition against Falwell, created by “35 African-American pastors, ministry leaders, and former athletes who graduated from Liberty University,” has already racked up more than 37,000 signatures.
The only way to create change, then, is to kick the school where it hurts — by ruining Liberty’s reputation (for good reason) and creating a brain drain courtesy of donations from people fed up with Falwell.