The Corner

Education

Power Corrupts, and Not Just Leftists

Candidate Donald Trump shakes hands with Jerry Falwell Jr. at a rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa, January 31, 2016. (Scott Morgan/Reuters)

The Martin Center likes to highlight instances where leftist administrators have become drunk on power and abuse it to suit their own desires. That’s not just a leftist failing, however. As we read in today’s Martin Center article by Reason writer Christian Barnard, Liberty University shows that conservatives are just as prone to this human weakness as leftists are.

Barnard notes that Jerry Falwell Sr. had a rather grand vision for his university, but following his death and his son’s succession to power, that abuse of power has set in. Barnard writes, “Critics argue that Falwell has created a culture of fear where people are unable to speak out. They point to examples such as how faculty outside of the law school cannot obtain tenure and the routine use of non-disclosure agreements that stop current and former staff and board members from discussing sensitive matters around Falwell’s leadership.”

True, Falwell Jr. has substantially increased the university’s budget, but apparently some of that money has gone into the pockets of cronies.

Criticism is not tolerated and campus groups that don’t adhere to “Moral Majority” precepts find themselves kicked out. Shades of your typical “progressive” university administration.

Barnard concludes, “There are many factors coming together to make Liberty’s governance problems unique. The distinct religious and political vision, the influence over the community in which it resides and the leadership style of the man at the helm all combine to form a distinct challenge. If the university is going to change course and live up to its own standards, the campus dissenters need to make a bold move and speak truth to power.”

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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