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Liberty Facing “Unprecedented” $34.7 Million in Fines

Nearly three weeks ago, The Washington Post reported on a leaked document from the Department of Education. The Post reported that “Liberty University has failed for years to keep its campus safe and repeatedly violated the federal law that specifies how it should do so, according to preliminary confidential findings from an Education Department inquiry.”

This week, the president of the college, Dondi E. Costin, said the school faces an “unprecedented fine” of $34.7 million as a result of the violations identified in that report.

Costin told Fox News Digital that the U.S. Education Department leaked a copy of a preliminary report on an investigation it is conducting against the university as a way to levy the fine against it.

According to Church Leader, “The Education Department has been looking into whether LU violated the Clery Act, which requires American universities that receive federal aid to disclose annual statistics about campus crime and safety.”

“The most damaging element of this whole process is the fact that for the first time that any of us are aware, the Department of Education leaked a preliminary report while we are in the process of negotiating with the department about all the advancements that we’ve made,” Costin told Fox News. “And so that’s the biggest issue. The leak is intentionally aimed at laying the groundwork for an unprecedented fine and the report is filled with factual errors that the Department has admitted to Liberty in their negotiations.”

Church Leader said Save71, a group of alumni, students, and faculty calling for new leadership at Liberty, pushed back on Costin’s claim, calling it “a Falwell-like move.” The group suggested it could have been an LU board member who leaked the report.

The report leaked to The Washington Post is not the final report, and this preliminary report is not usually made public. The initial report is usually sent to the college so that it can respond to and dispute the findings prior to the Education Department making a final determination.

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Warren Cole Smith

Warren previously served as Vice President of WORLD News Group, publisher of WORLD Magazine, and Vice President of The Colson Center for Christian Worldview. He has more than 30 years of experience as a writer, editor, marketing professional, and entrepreneur. Before launching a career in Christian journalism 25 years ago, Smith spent more than seven years as the Marketing Director at PricewaterhouseCoopers.