Black Instructor Quits Liberty Over President's Tweets

June 1, 2020

Christopher House, a professor of communication studies at Ithaca College who also taught online courses at Liberty University, resigned from his job at Liberty last week in response to tweets from Liberty president Jerry Falwell Jr.

In the tweets, Falwell said he would "reluctantly comply" with the order to wear face masks in the state of Virginia, where Liberty is located, if he could wear a mask with "Governor Blackface himself" on it. He included an image of a face mask depicting a photo from Virginia governor Ralph Northam's medical school yearbook, of one person in blackface next to another in a Ku Klux Klan hood and robe. Northam confirmed early last year that he was in the photo.

In a resignation letter he shared on Facebook, House referred specifically to the tweets as his reason for resigning.

"As an African-American man and Christian pastor, I am horrified and appalled that the president of the largest Christian university in the world would knowingly and intentionally use images that evoke a deep history of racial terror for people of color in the U.S., specifically individuals who look like me, for the purposes of making a political statement to the Governor of Virginia," he wrote.

"If this is the kind of 'training champions for Christ' that LU leadership engages in and supports -- at the painful expense of Black people and other marginal groups -- I morally cannot have anything more to do with this institution," he continued. "I have an obligation to God, myself and to those whom I serve and love to stand for what is right, just and true."

Local broadcast station WLSL 10 News reported that a request for comment from Liberty University was returned with a screenshot of Falwell's second tweet explaining the context of the image.

"Just a way to shine a spotlight on the fact that Democrats are and always have been the real racists in this country," it said.

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