Liberty University Blocks Access to Local Newspaper

Two weeks ago the Lynchburg News & Advance revealed that the often anti-federal government and fundamentalist Christian Liberty University received approximately $445 million in federal financial aid money last year.

Liberty didn’t dispute the figure but it did apparently try to punish the paper.

Last week Liberty’s financial aid director, Robert Ritz, said that there was no problem because “These funds are authorized by Congress and Congress is elected by voters… I’ve always been in the position where I believe I’m a steward of those federal funds. I’m a steward of tax-payer money.”

Apparently he’s not much of a steward of journalistic freedom, however. Last week the school blocked campus access to the News & Advance website.

According to a piece by Kyle Mantyla at People for the American Way, Liberty’s chancellor, Jerry Falwell, explained:

“Most of the websites that are blocked have to do with obscene material, material that is inappropriate,” Falwell said. “It just so happened last week The News & Advance was blocked for a day or two. We’re a private organization and we don’t have to give a reason and we’re not.”

No, you don’t have to give a reason, but as a steward of taxpayer money it’d sure be nice if you did.

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer