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Ex-spokesman suing Liberty University, alleging retaliation in firing
The former spokesman for Liberty University is suing the school, alleging he was fired in retaliation for his disapproval of how officials were handling reports of sexual assault and harassment.
Scott Lamb, the former senior vice president of communications at Liberty, filed the lawsuit on Monday, contending that he was ousted from his job after attempting to highlight how the school was not adequately reacting to concerns regarding sexual assault, according to The Washington Post.
In his lawsuit, Lamb argues that Liberty's policies are in breach of the federal Title IX law that bars discrimination on the basis of sex at schools that received federal funding.
In a statement posted to Twitter on Tuesday, Lamb said his lawsuit "alleges statutory violations, discrimination, and retaliation against me," and argues that "Liberty University discriminated against me for protecting the Federal rights of myself and others as it relates to Title IX."
"My lawsuit alleges that Liberty University has been behaving badly and has drifted from the original mission. I allege that they've treated me unfairly for trying to do the world of an internal reformer, for trying to get to the facts of the troubles they have brought upon themselves, and for speaking truth to power," he added.
Lamb said he is looking forward to "pursuing this lawsuit and vindicating my rights - including my right to speak the truth."
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in the Western District of Virginia, according to the Post.
Lamb said he was fired on Oct. 6 after he sat for a series of interviews with an outside law firm that was brought in by Liberty.
A dozen former students, who remain anonymous, sued Liberty for alleged Title IX violations in July, arguing the university failed to help sexual assault victims, and that the school's moral code, known as the "Liberty Way," increased the chances of assault happening on campus by making it "difficult or impossible" to report cases involving sexual violence, according to ProPublica.
The lawsuit also alleges that the "public and repeated retaliation against women who did report their victimization" created a dangerous campus environment.
In a statement to The Hill, a Liberty spokesperson said the university rejected the notion that Lamb was fired because of the anonymous Title IX lawsuit, contending that he was terminated after a review of his area's management.
"Liberty University categorically denies Mr. Lamb's claims that his termination was in any way the result of advice he had given on how the university should respond to the Jane Doe Title IX lawsuit. In reality, Mr. Lamb was terminated-with-cause as a result of a meeting about a recent review of the area under his management," the spokesperson said.
"Lamb's lawsuit is a transparent effort to rebuild his own reputation by shamefully playing on the goodwill of supporters of sexual assault victims. We look forward to addressing his claims in court," the spokesperson added.
The spokesperson also said the university "would like to affirm its commitment to take all allegations of sexual assault seriously and in accordance with the law."
Lamb's lawsuit was filed one day after ProPublica published a damning report that accused Liberty of discouraging and dismissing students who reported instances of rape, and threatening to punish individuals who came forward with allegations for breaking the school's moral code.
The news outlet spoke with more than 50 former Liberty students and staffers, and examined records from more than a dozen cases.
Lamb, who was in charge of media relations for Liberty from 2018 until his ouster, spoke to ProPublica for their report, telling the news outlet that Liberty "definitely" ignored the emails they had sent.
He said at Liberty "Concerns about sexual assault would go up the chain and then die," adding that it was "a conspiracy of silence."
In his Tuesday statement, Lamb called on Liberty to release a public statement vowing not to prosecute or retaliate against any former student or employee who choses to break a non-disclosure agreement they signed with the university.
He noted, however, that he did not sign an NDA.
"If the University has nothing to hide and desires nothing but transparency, then why not release people from an NDA signed under financial duress?" Lamb wrote.