Liberty University is ready to accept diplomas from graduates who are unhappy with President Jerry Falwell Jr.'s comments about President Trump, but warned alumni on Monday ditching diplomas may hurt their chances of finding jobs.
"Liberty University strongly supports our students' rights to express their own political opinions, including any opposition they have to their school leader's relationship with this president of the US, just as other students may have opposed leadership of liberal institutions supporting previous presidents," Liberty said in a statement.
"The tactic of returning diplomas has been used by students of many other schools to draw attention to various causes, but let's also remember that those same diplomas are quite helpful in helping these graduates secure well-paying jobs," the university added.
Approximately 300 people recently joined a Facebook group called "Return your diploma to LU." The social media page encourages alumni to mail back their diplomas to the Lynchburg, Va., school by Sept. 5.
The move is meant to show opposition to Falwell's defense of Trump's statements about the Charlottesville, Va., protest, where one woman died.
Last week, Falwell praised Trump for his "bold truthful stmt about #charlottesville tragedy," and angered some students and alumni.
"We are thoughtful, kind, smart, ethical, conscientious people, and we stand in solidarity with anti-racists," a post by one of the group's administrators read.
"We do not equivocate on issues of white supremacy, white nationalism, anti-Muslim or anti-immigrant sentiments, ableism, or antisemitism. We love and support our fellow citizens and noncitizens alike. We love and support the LGBTQIA community. We have diverse political, ideological, and religious views but we all stand in solidarity for a more inclusive, more just society.
"And we recognize how the figurehead of LU has risen to prominence in a way that impacts more than just the local community in and around Lynchburg, but is poised to negatively impact many people in America by advocating for terrible policies, and generally supporting an appalling president and presidential administration."
Falwell later said people misinterpreted his praise.
"He has inside information that I don't have," Falwell said of Trump. "I don't know if there were historical purists there who were trying to preserve some statues."
In the new round, some are saying they believe Falwell is "unfit" to continue leading the evangelical Christian school.