1 Apr 2015

Liberty University students faced $10 fine if they skipped Ted Cruz presidential speech

Every politician likes a packed house, and when Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, announced that he was officially running for president this week, he got one. About 11,000 students at Liberty University in Virginia were on hand when Cruz came to their campus. But as Jess McIntosh, the spokeswoman for the abortion rights group Emily’s List noted, they weren’t there necessarily by choice.
"Students were mandated to be in attendance or they would be fined," McIntosh toldChris Hayes on MSNBC on March 24, 2015. "Not as much as they would be fined for possessing R-rated movies or practicing witchcraft, but still, they had to pay money if they didn’t want to see him."
McIntosh wasn’t the only person to make this point, and a reader asked us to see what was up at Liberty University.
In this case, McIntosh gets an A for accuracy, although there was no special rule related to Cruz.
The university, founded by televangelist Jerry Falwell, requires its 13,500 residential students to attend as many as three events each week as part of a program calledConvocation. There are sermons by guest pastors, performances from Christian entertainers and talks by leaders in many fields.
What happens if you don’t go?
The university’s student appeals court handbook has the list of consequences for various infractions. Missing Convocation is on the list. (A reprimand is a formal mark against a student’s record.) Here’s what the handbook says:
Each student should be familiar with these sanctions.
1 Reprimand:
Late for curfew (1 additional reprimand for each 30 minutes late)
Late for Convocation (1 additional reprimand for each 15 minutes late)
4 Reprimands + $10.00 Fine:
Absence from required meeting (Convocation, etc.)
Disturbance/non-participation during Convocation
Dress/hair code violation (male or female)
Cruz’s presidential announcement was scheduled as a Convocation event by the university, therefore the penalty for a student’s absence would be four reprimands and a $10 fine.
Liberty University issued a statement about Cruz’s speech that confirmed that "missing Convocation is only a minor penalty, a $10 fine."
University President Jerry Falwell Jr. addressed the Convocation requirement in aseparate statement after Cruz’s address. "Convocation speakers do not all line up with traditional Evangelical Christian viewpoints or even Liberty University’s doctrinal statement. A fundamental part of the college experience is being exposed to a variety of viewpoints so students can better understand why they hold their own beliefs and be better prepared to defend them."
Students were aware of the rule. One of them posted about it on her Facebook page. Citing another student, she wrote, "Students will either attend Convocation and lend to the illusion of widespread support for Sen. Cruz, or they will be subject to administrative punishment -- specifically, four reprimands and a $10 fine -- if they are absent."
We have plenty of questions about the fine system, but Liberty University officials didn’t get back to us before our deadline.   


  1. LIBERTY University??? LMAO!

  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkJdrlhqbPk