Falwell said yesterday that the school never has allowed Democratic clubs on campus because of the school's pro-life policy.It's still a weak retraction from their earlier position, and in effect, Falwell throws Mark Hine, the Vice President of Student Affairs, under the bus.
"Last fall this group was approved by an administrator who really didn't check with anybody else, and he misread the policy. Now, we have a more specific policy."
Falwell said the school "did not disband the club, but we can only endorse a club that supports the university's doctrine and mission."
Yesterday, to my knowledge, McAuliffe and Deeds responded to the incident, but, again, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that all four gubernatorial candidates responded to the event. Brian Moran's spokesperson, Jesse Ferguson, said that Moran is "deeply concerned that Liberty University is stifling choice and freedom of speech." From the McDonnell campaign:
Tucker Martin, a spokesman for Bob McDonnell, the all-but-official Republican nominee for governor, said that as a private institution Liberty can make its own decisions about officially recognizing clubs and organizations.
But "Bob McDonnell personally disagrees with this specific decision by the school because our political process is strengthened by the free and robust exchange of ideas," Martin said.
Echoing a similar tone, The Roanoke Times offered their thoughts on the incident, sternly warning Liberty not to earn a reputation in which education comes at the expense of the exchange of ideas.
Brian Diaz, President of the formerly recognized Young Democrats, was on The Rachel Maddow Show last night, and you can view his interview with Rachel here. The Democratic Party of Virginia made a video with the contact information to Hine, if you are inclined to voice your disappointment. Also, the Virginia Young Democrats have a petition - please sign - asking Liberty University to support the First Amendment rights of the Young Democrats on campus.
While the outrage of Democratic bloggers has remained constant since yesterday (with excellent new posts by Anonymous is a Woman and Fake Virginia), unfortunately the prominent and respected Republican blogs within the state have remained silent, outside of saying the Left is having a hissy fit.
Update: WSLS reports that Falwell is trying to compromise with the Young Dems, willing to reinstate their organization if they re-charter under the Democrats for Life, a single issue pro-life Democratic organization. Falwell got this advice from Republican gubernatorial candidate, Bob McDonnell (hunh?!?). Diaz and Childress, appreciative of the spirit of compromise, are inclined to reject the offer, as they wouldn't be able to help pro-choice Democratic candidates under this compromise.
Update 2: Falwell writes this op-ed clarifying Liberty's rationale.