Liberty University spurns Democratic club

Washington Post / May 23, 2009
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WASHINGTON - Liberty University will no longer recognize its campus Democratic Party club because its parent organization stands against the conservative Christian school's moral principles.

The club, which has about 30 members, will no longer be able to use Liberty's name, hold on-campus meetings, or be eligible for student activities money.

"I think it does the university a great disservice to stifle one side of the discussion simply because we are Democrats," said Maria Childress, the club's adviser and an administrative assistant at the school.

Brian Diaz, president of Liberty's Democratic club, said he was informed of the school's decision in a May 15 e-mail.

"The candidates supported are directly contrary to the mission of Liberty University," the e-mail said.

Liberty has had a College Republicans club for years. The Democratic club formed in October and worked aggressively to elect President Obama.

"They . . . let the Liberty University College Republicans stay on campus, but they don't let us," said Diaz, 18, who will be a sophomore next year. "Sounds like censorship to me."

Childress said she is trying to appeal the decision to Jerry Falwell Jr., who became the Lynchburg school's chancellor after his father died in 2007. In the meantime, students who violate the rule face reprimands under the school's conduct code, which could result in expulsion.