Liberty University, one of the largest private Christian universities in the United States, will soon face a multi-million dollar lawsuit from its former employees. Liberty has consistently been a source of controversy in recent years due to its affiliations with pro-Trump advocates and former president Jerry Falwell’s conduct. However, several of its employees have expressed concerns about the organization and have even taken legal action.
Kelvin Edwards was one of those involved. According to a court filing, Edwards was offered a 10-year contract by Liberty to serve as their Executive Vice President of Management Efficiencies and Diversity. The complaint states that Edwards would receive a $275,000 salary, a $1,500 vehicle allowance, scholarships for his children, and a new home.
Edwards appeared to be a significant win for Liberty, as Edwards was a black man now serving in the higher ranks of Liberty's executive staff. Liberty went as far as to tout Edwards’ hire, describing him as “one of the very few African American executives in Liberty’s history” as of August 2020.
Edwards was fired in October 2020, with the complaint alleging that Dr. Jerry Prevo, Edwards’ superior, believed there was “Too much invested in diversity, meaning too many minority executives” and had reassigned Edwards’ duties to himself.
The complaint also claims that Liberty discriminated against Edwards based on race under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and under the Virginia Human Rights Act.
Edwards is currently seeking more than 8 million dollars in recompense.
When asked for comment, Liberty University told a local news outlet that “Liberty University rejects the claims of Kelvin Edwards and will prove them false through the legal process.” Liberty also reinforced their emphasis on diversity internally, stating that they were “fully committed to racial and ethnic inclusion and diversity throughout Liberty."