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Liberty University's President Jerry Falwell Jr. to Lead Trump’s Higher Education Task Force

( [email protected] ) Feb 02, 2017 11:45 AM EST
Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., son of the late televangelist Jerry Falwell Sr., was tapped by President Donald Trump to lead a task force to reform the U.S. Department of Education.
Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., one of the nation's most prominent evangelical Christian leaders, was asked to head a White House task force on reforming the U.S. higher education system. Reuters / Scott Morgan

Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., son of the late televangelist Jerry Falwell Sr., was tapped by President Donald Trump to lead a task force to reform the U.S. Department of Education.

"The goal is to pare it back, and give colleges and their accrediting agencies more leeway in governing their affairs," Falwell told The Chronicle of Higher Education. "I've got notebooks full of issues." 

Falwell said he sees it as a response to what he called "overreaching regulation" and micromanagement by the department in areas, such as accreditation and policies that affect colleges' student-recruiting behavior, like the new "borrower defense to repayment" regulations.

Falwell is president of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., which bills itself as the world's biggest Christian university. A school spokesman, Len Stevens, said on Wednesday it was not clear yet when the task force would start its work.

Falwell said Tuesday details about his role are the still being sorted out, according to the Associated Press.

Falwell was an early supporter of the president. He told AP in November that Trump offered him the job of education secretary, but he turned it down for personal reasons, including not wanting to relocate his family. He said Tuesday that nominee Betsy DeVos was a great choice, reports Chicago Tribune, although in the interview with The Chronicle, Falwell said he met her for the first time recently, at a service at the Washington National Cathedral.

"The task force will be a big help to her. It will do some of the work for her," he claimed.

Last year, Trump described Falwell as "one of the most respected religious leaders in our nation" after Falwell endorsed him during the Republican party primary race.

The Christian education leader is keen to cut university regulations, he said, according to Yahoo News. He also wants to cut federal rules on investigating and reporting sexual assault under Title IX, the federal law that bars sexual discrimination in education, according to Reuters' sources.

The Liberty University head believes on-campus sexual assault investigations are best left to police and prosecutors, Stevens said.

Falwell told the Associated Press he turned down an offer from Trump to become education secretary, in part because Falwell did not want to move his family to Washington.

When Falwell introduced Trump before a speech he gave at Liberty University early last year, Falwell said he saw similarities between Trump and his father, the founder of the Moral Majority organization, including a penchant to "speak his mind."

Falwell is a lawyer. His father, Rev. Jerry Falwell, was co-founder of the Moral Majority and an architect of the conservative Christian political movement that helped propel Ronald Reagan to the presidency in 1980, reports NBC News

 

 

Tags : Jerry Falwell Jr., Liberty University, U.S. Department of Education, Higher Education Task Force, Trump, Trump appointees, education, jerry falwell jr higher education, Betsy DeVos, overregulation and micromanagement of higher education