A prominent leader at Liberty University has apologised to students after a sex scandal involving the university's president garnered national headlines this week. David Nasser, the campus pastor often seen hosting Liberty's enormous weekly convocation gathering, told the student body that they "deserve much better than this".
Speaking at a Campus Community event on Wednesday, Nasser said the whole situation was a "mess" after Jerry Falwell Jr left his high-profile position as president and chancellor of the university in disgrace. Nasser said students were right to want to hear "extravagant grace and forgiveness" towards Falwell, but were "also right to want to see stern and swift, accountable action for sinful behaviour".
The pastor then went on to openly apologise for the scandal, has temporarily tarnished the reputation of the popular evangelical university.
"Let me begin by saying to you, I am sorry," Nasser declared. "In my opinion, you as a Liberty student deserve better and the embarrassment that’s been brought upon you as a Liberty student and more importantly brought upon the name of Christ is wrong. I know that many of you are hurting and that breaks my heart. Your concerns, if you’re concerned, are valid. If you’re not concerned, you should be concerned."
Nasser called the Falwell's behaviour "shameful".
"That's ok to say it. It's ok to call sin, sin," Nasser added. "It's ok to say what Paul says in Ephesians: 'have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, everything that is illuminated becomes a light.
"It's not dishonouring someone when you bring this before them...it's honouring them enough to tell them the truth."
He continued: "You and your family have worked hard to pay for a Christian education and this wasn’t what you signed up for. I heard from one of you that you hesitated wearing your Liberty T-shirt this summer because you did not want the more recent baggage that came with it, and it just shouldn’t have been that way...so let me be the first to say to you if no one else has and to personally apologize and say I am sorry — not on behalf of anybody else but me.
"Liberty is more than a college. We are God's college."
Earlier this week, Liberty University's board accepted the resignation of Jerry Falwell Jr after he was implicated in a sex scandal involving his wife and a former pool boy, who was also a business associate of the couple. Falwell accepted that his wife Becki had engaged in an illicit relationship with the man, but insisted that he was not involved.
Following his resignation, Falwell said it was "a relief" to leave his position and insisted that he had done nothing wrong - he also revealed to the press that he would be receiving a $10.5 million compensatory package over the next 24 months, as per his contract.
"I didn’t break any rules—I get my compensation,” he told the Wall Street Journal.
In a statement on Tuesday, Liberty said its "heartfelt prayers are with [Falwell] and his family as he steps away from his life's work".
You can watch Nasser's full message below (commencing at 38:50):