Home Christian News Liberty University Agrees to $14 Million Fine for Safety Violations, Failing To...

Liberty University Agrees to $14 Million Fine for Safety Violations, Failing To Respond to Sexual Abuse Allegations

Liberty University $14 Million Fine
FILE - Liberty University's football stadium is empty as students were welcomed back to the university's campus, March 24, 2020, in Lynchburg, Va. A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit twelve women brought last summer against Liberty University, according to court documents filed, Wednesday, May 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

Liberty University is set to pay a historic $14 million fine to the United States Department of Education for violations of campus safety law regarding the prevention of and response to sexual abuse. 

The Christian university, which was founded by the late Jerry Falwell Sr. and is located in Lynchburg, Virginia, has also agreed to spend an additional $2 million to improve on-campus safety over the next two years.

In 2022, the Department of Education launched an investigation into whether Liberty University had violated the Clery Act, a federal statute that requires universities that participate in federal financial aid programs to keep and disclose information about crime on and near their campuses.

The review, which was conducted by the Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid, found that Liberty University had committed 11 violations, according to CNN. These violations included failing to maintain a daily crime log, failing to issue timely warnings to students and faculty about reportable crimes, and failing to comply with sexual violence prevention and response requirements. 

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Liberty University said in a statement that the $14 million settlement “​​marks the end of an unprecedented and arduous process that has been ongoing since February 2022. Liberty is firmly committed to Clery Act compliance and the safety and security of our students and staff without exception.”

The university claimed that the Department of Education’s “methodologies, findings, and calculations in the report were drastically different from their historic treatment of other universities. Liberty disagrees with this unfair treatment.”

“While the university maintains that we have repeatedly endured selective and unfair treatment by the Department, the university also concurs there were numerous deficiencies that existed in the past,” Liberty nevertheless went on to add. “We acknowledge and regret these past failures and have taken these necessary improvements seriously.”

“We now have a model Clery program for compliance with many campus improvements that will benefit our students and staff for years to come,” the statement continued. “We will continue to work in cooperation with the Department to prioritize student safety and to advocate for a fair, consistent, and principled standard of Clery compliance that is applied equally to all universities without prejudice.”

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In a letter to students and alumni, Liberty University president Dr. Dondi E. Costin said, “Today is a new day at Liberty University. We remain committed to prioritizing the safety and security of our students and staff without exception.”