Liberty University has revoked its recognition of the campus Democratic Party club, saying “we are unable to lend support to a club whose parent organization stands against the moral principles held by” the university.
“It kind of happened out of nowhere,” said Brian Diaz, president of LU’s student Democratic Party organization, which LU formally recognized in October.
Diaz said he was notified of the school’s decision May 15 in an e-mail from Mark Hine, vice president of student affairs.
According to the e-mail, the club must stop using the university’s name, holding meetings on campus, or advertising events. Violators could incur one or more reprimands under the school’s Liberty Way conduct code, and anyone who accumulates 30 reprimands is subject to expulsion.
Hine said late Thursday that the university could not sanction an official club that supported Democratic candidates.
“We are in no way attempting to stifle free speech.”
Legally, Liberty University is well within its rights. Politically and otherwise, it’s a sad decision. It’s less about freedom of speech than freedom of conscience, and it blatantly reinforces the link between the Republican Party and the conservative evangelicals. The old-time Baptists who fought so hard against mixing church and state business are probably rolling over in their graves.