Liberty University Continues Good Friday Snub
For as long as he could remember, junior Corey Bossom has loved the Easter musical his church youth group presents on Good Friday.
“We would have the choir involved, we’d bring in our drama group, and we’d have skits about Palm Sunday,” Bossom said. “It’s just a lot of fun.”
Since his enrollment at Liberty University, Bossom has been unable to attend in person. For the third time in a row, he will have to experience the Easter musical through pictures and videos shared on Facebook.
Good Friday falls on April 14 this year, and Liberty University will continue its longstanding tradition of not giving students and faculty the day off.
For Christian colleges, this is not exactly orthodox.
Of the institutions listed in Newsmax’s Top 100 Evangelical Christian Universities, 78 schools like Wheaton College and Baylor University give students Good Friday off. Most of the remainder were secular schools with Christian roots, except for number one — Liberty University.
Since the university’s advent in 1971, Easter Break has started after the last Friday classes. For the past 46 years, students and faculty have celebrated what is arguably the most important holiday in Christianity by going to class.
“Once we got started, no one ever challenged it,” said Elmer Towns, co-founder of the school.
This is no longer the case.
“Since we are a Christian school, it’d be nice if we acknowledge Christ’s death,” junior Corey Bossom said. “If Jesus didn’t die on the cross, then there’s no way we’d end up getting into heaven. It seems not well thought out.”
According to Towns, many assume the reason for classes on Good Friday is an alignment of Jerry Falwell Sr.’s belief that Jesus was crucified on a Wednesday and resurrected the following Saturday — a belief he revealed in an article with World Net Daily in 2001.
But Towns says this was not a personal decision, but rather a product of an agreement with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to meet the required number of academic contact hours.
“That was established in the early days by our relationship to SACS,” Towns said. “We had to have a certain number of contact hours in a school year. More holidays put [the end of the semester] off to a long distance.”
According to the SGA, a petition would be the next way to go, should students want to change the holiday schedule. But Towns says that students who want a break on Good Friday should keep in mind the financial consequences of accomplishing this change.
“If you want it off, okay,” Towns said. “But are you willing to pay (for the extra time)? They don’t think of the ramifications these days.”
In the meantime, Bossom will have to continue enjoying the musical hundreds of miles away from home, hoping the school will find an alternate solution.
“I understand we need to have a set number of days,” Bossom said. “But I feel like we could cut it out somewhere else. I would like to go back home and spend Good Friday service with my family and friends.”