Falwell had come under fire in recent days after posting a picture on Instagram that depicted him with his pants unzipped and his midsection visible to the camera.
Chairman Dr. Jerry Prevo will now serve as acting president effective immediately, the university announced Monday. He has served on the Liberty University Board of Trustees since 1996 and has been the Board Chairman since 2003, and he recently retired as the Senior Pastor of Anchorage Baptist Temple in Anchorage, Alaska, after serving there for 47 years.
Prevo will step aside from his role as Chairman of the Liberty University Board of Trustees for the duration of his service as acting president, a release from the university said.
“We have a world-class leadership team at Liberty University who will support me in running our operations on a day-to-day basis and fulfilling our spiritual mission unabated: Training Champions for Christ,” Dr. Prevo said in the release. “Please pray for us as well as the Falwell family as we embark on our academic year and so we may continue to be united in our common purpose and our faith in Christ.”
On Friday, Prevo released a statement regarding the mutual decision between Falwell and the university for him to step down. “Today, my colleagues and I on the Liberty University Board of Trustees and Jerry mutually agreed that it would be good for him to take an indefinite leave of absence,” Prevo said in the earlier statement.
The photo in question, which showed Falwell with his pants unzipped and his stomach exposed, was taken at a costume party with his wife’s assistant, Falwell told WLNI during a radio interview.
“You know, it was weird because she’s pregnant so she couldn’t get her (shorts) up and I was like, trying to like — I have a pair of jeans I haven’t worn in a long time so I couldn’t get mine zipped either,” Falwell explained. “So I just put my belly out like hers.”
He said he “should never have put it up and embarrassed her,” adding, “I’ve apologized to everybody and I promised my kids I’m going to try to be a good boy from here on out.”