Liberty University Responds to Eastern Zone’s Anti-Discrimination Resolution

3 weeks after the Eastern Zone of USA Swimming passed an anti-discrimination resolution, written generally but precipitated by hosting rights for an upcoming meet being awarded to Liberty University, the school has responded. In a statement, the school says that they are within compliance of the USA Swimming Code of Conduct, and therefore the Eastern Zone’s anti-discrimination resolution.

Liberty University is in full compliance with the 2019 USA Swimming Rules and Regulations, including Section 304.3 of its Code of Conduct. Liberty University looks forward to continuing to not only host USA Swimming events but also allowing its facilities to be utilized by other organizations hosting USA Swimming events. When Liberty University permits other organizations to use its athletics facilities for events, those outside entities are free to make decisions about use and designation of restrooms and locker rooms (including changing areas, toilets and showers). When Liberty University itself hosts competitions, consistent with a spirit of Christian hospitality, it welcomes all participants on an equal basis and readily accommodates requests for participants to have access to changing, showering and bathroom facilities in accordance with their preference to ensure all participants have access to facilities that are both comfortable and safe. Members and participants of USA Swimming events will not encounter harassment or discrimination by Liberty University that is prohibited by Section 304.3.2, nor have any claims of such discrimination been received. Liberty University’s modern and impressive athletics facilities have played host to a variety of major athletics events including, most recently, the 2019 State Games of America, which consisted of more than 15,000 participants from across the nation. In accordance with its Christian character, objectives and beliefs, Liberty University will seek to provide an environment that is safe, healthy and free of prohibited discrimination and harassment, plus one that safeguards the dignity of everyone involved in events hosted on its campus.

Liberty University is a faith-based university located in Lynchburg, Virginia. The school’s official policies are of anti-discrimination, though the university’s president (and son of its founder) Jerry Fallwell, Jr. has made public statements that are specifically anti-gay marriage. The school also, however, has a number of students who identify as LGBTQ+, and an office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion that says its mission is to make the campus a welcoming place even for those who don’t agree with the university’s mission or doctrinal statement. The University’s doctrinal statement and mission do not explicitly mention homosexuality or gender identity.

In their statement, Liberty University says that it aims to welcome all people to its campus “with a spirit of Christian hospitality.” Specifically, they say that when an organization hosts an event at their facilities (as would be the case for a 2020 Zone Championship meet scheduled to be hosted there), that they are “free to make decisions about use and designation of restrooms and locker rooms (including changing areas, toilets and showers).” When Liberty is acting as host, they say they will make accommodations for any requests for similar facilities in preference with individuals’ preferences.

The school also says that ” Members and participants of USA Swimming events will not encounter harassment or discrimination by Liberty University that is prohibited by Section 304.3.2, nor have any claims of such discrimination been received.”

“In accordance with its Christian character, objectives and beliefs, Liberty University will seek to provide an environment that is safe, healthy and free of prohibited discrimination and harassment, plus one that safeguards the dignity of everyone involved in events hosted on its campus.”

Nick Poulous, the athlete who read the resolution out loud at the Eastern Zone Swimming meeting, said afterward that: “While the policies may not directly affect the way the meet is run, we feel that some of them may not be conducive to a completely positive environment for all of our athletes to compete fairly. There were also some concerns from athletes and from coaches that they would not be properly welcomed at the facility.”

Poulos couldn’t recall a specific discriminatory policy, but said that “they [Liberty] have views about sexual orientation that are not necessarily welcoming to all our athletes.”

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YoYo
2 years ago

much ado about nothing.

EZ Parent
2 years ago

Liberty University is probably the MOST polarizing university in the country, with the possible exception of Bob Jones University. It would probably rank 999 out of 1,000 universities in terms of “most polarizing” or “anti-diversity”. It’s leader is Jerry Falwell Jr. — one of the most outspoken supporters of President Trump, who love to provoke, belittle, and taunt the 50%+ of the country that isn’t with him.  Why are we going there? Why are we making some of our talented young swimmers — who EARNED a zone cut — go to a place that actively denigrates who they are. Of all places to go, USA Swimming picks the most polarizing university? WHY? WHY? Is the meet going to lose some swimmers… Read more »

Swimdad
Reply to  EZ Parent
2 years ago

Ellen says she took a lot of heat on social media from people who were angry over the affiliation … so she took to her show on Monday to explain herself.

“Here’s the thing. I’m friends with George Bush,” Ellen said.

“In fact, I’m friends with a lot of people who don’t share the same beliefs that I have. We’re all different. And, I think that we’ve forgotten that that’s okay that we’re all different.”

“Just because I don’t agree with someone on everything doesn’t mean I’m not gonna friends with them.”

Ellen says she and her wife, Portia de Rossi, were invited to the game by Jerry Jones’ daughter, Charlotte Jones … and the most difficult part about the… Read more »

EZ Parent
2 years ago

Liberty University is probably the MOST polarizing university in the country, with the possible exception of Bob Jones University. It would probably rank 999 out of 1,000 universities in terms of “most polarizing” or “anti-diversity”. Its leader is Jerry Falwell Jr. — one of the most outspoken supporters of President Trump, who love to provoke, belittle, and taunt the 50%+ of the country that isn’t with him.  Why are we going there? Why are we making some of our talented young swimmers — who EARNED a zone cut — go to a place that actively denigrates and mocks who they are. Of all places to go, USA Swimming picks the most polarizing university in the whole country whose leader is… Read more »

Swimfan
Reply to  EZ Parent
2 years ago

I’m guessing you have never attended or hosted a meet there. Because if you did, you would know it is an excellent pool in a great area, not an indoctrination camp. Your comment and focus on things that have absolutely nothing to do with actually swimming in this pool is what’s wrong with our society these days. If people boycott, so be it. They’ll be the ones missing out.

EZ Parent
Reply to  Swimfan
2 years ago

Swimmers earn the right to swim at Eastern Zones — and they and their families shouldn’t need to decide whether to swim at such a polarizing place. Of all the choices…USA Swimming chooses to go to the university headed by Jerry Falwell Jr?? It’s hard to believe that USA Swimming is allowing itself to be used by Liberty University, given its recent initiatives about anti-bullying and diversity. Did USA Swimming not realize that Liberty University is using the swimmers for its own political (and public relations) purposes? This is part of an old playbook used by discredited organizations and countries. During apartheid, South Africa hosted all sorts of sporting and cultural events to try to look respectable. Communist countries did… Read more »

DutchWomen
Reply to  EZ Parent
2 years ago

Did you not read the release? No hostility at Liberty. Let us not be silly. Again, if Yale and Berkeley are willing to play at Liberty, what does that say about your stance?

swimdad
Reply to  EZ Parent
2 years ago

Admittedly, my kids were raised in a bubble of my family’s making….. we chose were we lived and the experiences they experienced. We didn’t raise our kids in DC or Northern California but we found the life experience of walking the streets of San Francisco (after a swim meet) with all manners of people with life choices other than ours a learning experience for our kids. The experience was better than expected and allowed our kids to be exposed to many great Americans ( with different political views than ours). You might consider that exposing your child to others with opposing views a valuable life lesson. That might be a better reward than getting a best time at Zones….. then… Read more »

Texas Dad
Reply to  EZ Parent
2 years ago

It’s called Religious Freedom! I hope ADF gets involved and goes after Eastern Zone.

DutchWomen
Reply to  EZ Parent
2 years ago

So by your logic, the US should no longer host international events because people don’t like the President? History is lost on you. Were the Olympic boycotts successful, on either side? And to sponsorships…now you’re revealing too much. Better to stay silent and appear…..than to speak and remove all doubt. Liberty is a Marriott school, in fact there’s one on campus. You do know that Willard was firm LDS, I assume? BYU anyone?

DutchWomen
2 years ago

Doing a bit of research here, this is all you need to know about this entire situation:

1. No one in the Eastern Zone (coaches, athletes, administration) are further left than Yale, Berkeley, UPenn
2. Yale played a field hockey game at Liberty this year. Penn and your very own CAL BEARS played AT Liberty in the past
3. If BERKELEY is able to play field hockey at LU, certainly the Eastern Zone of USA Swimming is able to have a meet at the facility.

Let that sink in…all this hoopla about a welcoming campus and so forth…and the (G)olden Bears were able to play at LU, without any discrimination, riots, trigger warnings, protests, etc. IF… Read more »

Swimfan
2 years ago

It sure would be nice if politics would stay out of swimming. Liberty has an excellent facility for swimming and their staff is professional and courteous to all. The cries to host the meet elsewhere are ridiculous. The only discrimination happening here is against Liberty, and it needs to stop. You don’t have to share their political/religious views to swim in a meet at their pool. Perhaps people could just be courteous and civil to all, even towards those who hold beliefs they don’t agree with.

Andrew
2 years ago

Properly welcomed? Come right out and say it. They don’t want Liberty to host the meet because they don’t agree with them politically. Get over it.

HSCoach
2 years ago

I’ve been on deck for two USA swimming meets that were at Liberty but not hosted by them. Other than their logo on the wall, parents and swimmers attending these meets don’t see or hear anything from the university or its students. The pool is technically on campus, but it’s on the other side of the highway from where all the academic buildings and student activity is. I’d be interested to hear if anyone who is upset about that pool being used has ever actually been there.

DutchWomen
Reply to  HSCoach
2 years ago

Bingo. They’re reading politico or going off “what they heard.”

Snarky
2 years ago

We don’t discriminate except when we do. Great double speak Liberty. Sham U.

DutchWomen
Reply to  Snarky
2 years ago

No need to try reading between the lines. Grasping here. Let it go.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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