Tulsa Pastor Banned From Virginia's Liberty University Campus
TULSA, Oklahoma - A Tulsa pastor and author said Virginia’s Liberty University banned him from campus for speaking out against School President Jerry Falwell Jr.
"The Table" ministry leader Jonathan Martin said he’s been critical of Falwell's unwavering support of President Donald Trump.
Martin said early November, he planned to lead a prayer meeting on campus and attended a concert, but when he arrived, security told him to leave and forced him to sign an agreement keeping him away from the school permanently.
"You know, to me, it felt like a pretty extreme response to someone who’s, you know, an outspoken proponent of Christian nonviolence,” Martin said.
Liberty said in a statement Martin was banned because he did not properly schedule the event and they thought it could be a security risk.
You can read the school’s full statement below.
Members of the Liberty University community are always welcome to engage in peaceful debate, intellectual inquiry and protest, but for public safety reasons, organized events by outside groups require advance notice and participating in the appropriate application process. Liberty University learned via social media of an attempt by Jonathan Martin to schedule an event on its private campus without any prior authorization or consultation. Mr. Martin is not a student, faculty member or employee of Liberty University. There are facility use protocols for those who are not members of the University community to schedule events on campus. Those protocols take into account safety and security, as well as schedule conflicts and costs. Absent such pre-planning and authorization, an event promoted to the general public on social media has the potential to be a security risk. Given the late hour of the notice, the only effective way to prevent the unauthorized event from happening this morning was to issue a trespass warning to its organizer, Mr. Martin, last evening. This was done in a professional and matter of fact manner by Liberty University Police Department.
In light of the climate of protest associated with campuses across the country, Liberty University takes seriously its obligation to preserve and maintain campus safety and security. While University community members can freely make arrangements for their events, those who are not members of the University community have a higher burden to be granted access to Liberty University’s facilities for their private purpose. Even so, from time to time the University has made places available for outside groups to stage protests. Typically, however, those groups are directed off campus, especially where there are no tie-ins with a student organization or other member of the University community.
It may be possible that Jonathan Martin knew his unauthorized event would ultimately not be permitted to occur on the private property of Liberty University but he simply hoped to garner more attention to his cause by having his efforts stopped. So be it. The judgment was made that it was safer to stop the event before it started that to attempt to turn away an unknown number of people who traveled to Liberty’s campus. Either option likely gives Mr. Martin’s cause the publicity he apparently seeks. The University cannot be concerned with whether its actions provide additional oxygen to either side of a debate but rather must be concerned about safety and security of its campus.