Former students at Liberty University are preparing to return their diplomas in a group protest of university president Jerry Falwell Jr.'s support for President Trump's agenda.
In a group letter first reported by NPR, a small group of alumni is criticizing Falwell for supporting the president in the wake of Trump's remarks blaming "many sides" for violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend. The letter slams Falwell for defending Trump's comments, specifically for his saying there were "very fine people" protesting on both sides.
"This is incompatible with Liberty University's stated values, and incompatible with a Christian witness," the letter says.
One former student government president told NPR that Falwell was "complicit" in Trump's support for "Nazis and white supremacists."
"I'm sending my diploma back because the president of the United States is defending Nazis and white supremacists," Chris Gaumer said. "And in defending the president's comments, Jerry Falwell Jr. is making himself and, it seems to me, the university he represents, complicit."
Falwell responded to the letter and Gaumer's remarks on ABC's "This Week," saying that the alumni "completely misunderstand" his support for Trump.
"[Gaumer] completely misunderstands my support," Falwell said in response to his quote. "My support for the president is his bold and truthful willingness to call terrorist groups by their name.
"And that's something we haven't seen from presidents in recent years," he added.
The letter asks graduates to sign on to the group letter and return their diplomas to Falwell, or if they can't find their diplomas, to send individual letters to Falwell and the university. It was unclear how many signatures the letter has gathered so far.