LYNCHBURG, VA – Things snowballed out of hand at Liberty University on Sunday and forced the university president to issue an apology. An uproar grew after students were photographed having a massive snowball fight without taking pandemic precautions.
This is Liberty University, Lynchburg VA. Aka the largest Christian college in the world. They don’t enforce their students to wear masks. Instead they invite them all (not even two weeks after coming back) to have a snowball fight. pic.twitter.com/9nGfqaFPlm
— Hattiebelle ✨ (@Hattiebelle2) February 1, 2021
Photographs of students gathered without masks and without social distance were shared on social media following a massive snowball fight on the university campus. Liberty University Acting President Jerry Prevo issued a statement taking full responsibility for the lack of precautions and called the event “a mistake”:
“We made a mistake in not enforcing the guidelines that we have followed routinely and sincerely for these many months. We have had a strong record of compliance and containment of COVID-19 from the start, and we want our community to know that Sunday’s snowball event was not done with a heart of defiance.
“The mistake was one of being caught up in the moment of the day. I and my leadership team apologize for not leading our students to abide by COVID-19 protocols during this event. I am truly sorry for how this activity may put our students and university in a negative light, potentially diminishing the hard work of many dedicated employees and volunteers.”
BREAKING: “I messed up.” Pres. Prevo assumes responsibility for leading Liberty students accused of violating Executive Orders, campus guidelines regarding COVID-19 during snowball fight Sunday. https://t.co/vqfTztjyi8
— WDBJ7 (@WDBJ7) February 2, 2021
Prevo explained that Lynchburg had not seen a large snowfall in a couple of years, and he wanted the students to have a chance to enjoy it. He pointed out that much of the student body came from parts of the country where it never snowed. He described how he started a small snowball fight, and it grew:
“I donned my gloves and coat and headed outside and immediately engaged in some snowball fights with a few students. From that small beginning, I invited them to meet on the front lawn to continue the fun with more students. The student body took to the idea, they showed up in large numbers and had the snowball fight. I stood front and center and led this event.”
Lynchburg residents outraged over lack of face masks at Liberty University snowball fight https://t.co/VVcPmlJFe2
— Jackie Fifer (@JackieFifer14) February 2, 2021
Not everyone shared Prevo’s enthusiasm for the snowball fight, and a Virginia Health Department spokesperson said they received over 115 complaints about the student gathering. Most of the complaints were because students were not masked, were not social distancing, and the maximum number of people permitted to gather by COVID-19 restrictions was greatly surpassed.
The spokesman said the department was discussing the incident internally and no decision had been made on whether action would be taken against the university:
“As following the public health guidelines is essential to containing this pandemic, we share the complainants’ concerns about the potential for COVID transmission and are consulting the VDH central office on our response.”
— kerry dougherty (@kerrydougherty) February 3, 2021
Prevo admitted that the students did not follow the Governor’s pandemic restrictions and failed to obey campus COVID-19 rules as well.
“I messed up. We did not think through or communicate the need to wear facial coverings and remain 6 feet apart in compliance with Virginia Governor’s Executive Orders for the suppression of the spread of COVID-19 or even our own COVID-19 Operations Plan. And the size of the group was not in compliance either.
“I am firmly committed to the health and safety of our students at Liberty University, as well as their spiritual and emotional health. We hope to foster more fun and excitement for our students in the days ahead but will do so while abiding by our health and safety protocols.”
Stupid Snowflakes…leave America and go back to chin….https://t.co/TV5OfI0xLk
— Beach Club Records © (@BeachClubRecord) February 3, 2021
Prevo also said that all social media posts made about the snowball fight, including some by him, were taken down to avoid future issues:
“In conjunction with this announcement, we have also taken down the social media posts about this event, which could tend to undermine a culture of compliance.”
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Incoming Dallas Police Chief is the man who absolutely shredded the hypocrisy of lockdowns in California
February 1, 2021
DALLAS, TX – The former San Jose, California police chief has recently passed the Texas law enforcement exam, meaning that the newly appointed Dallas police chief will be able to don the uniform on his first day within Dallas.
New Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia passed the test that licenses him as a peace officer in Texas, which will allow him to wear the DPD uniform on day one.https://t.co/cW85giKHu8
— WFAA (@wfaa) January 29, 2021
According to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, Chief Eddie Garcia had passed the TCOLE licensing exam with a score of 91.
The test in question licenses Chief Garcia to act as a peace officer in Texas, meaning that on his February 3rd, 2021 start date he’ll be able to adorn the Dallas Police Department uniform on his first day as chief of police.
Chief Garcia was apparently one of seven finalists being considered for chief of police for the Dallas Police Department, with his selection having been announced in December of 2020.
And the passing of the TCOLE prior to even starting as the chief of police undoubtedly serves as a morale booster for the department with respect to the incoming leadership.
If the mentioning of Chief Garcia sounds at all familiar, then it might be from when he was the San Jose Police chief and decided to share his unfiltered thoughts back in May of 2020 with respect to the complexities and contradictions of enforcing certain mandates related to the pandemic.
In a video dated May 11th of 2020 that has over 100,000 views, then-San Jose Police Chief Garcia stated the following when news crews were inquiring about pandemic related enforcements with respect to “street parades”:
“Well, first reaction to this is incredibly frustrating. Since this began, seems like the goalposts are not just moving for our community – but for law enforcement. Since day one, these orders have been ridiculously difficult to enforce.”
“But now, I don’t understand…I don’t know how any police chief, in this county, can look at their community in the face and say while people are being released out of jails on zero bail – serious criminals – that now we’re going to stop people from holding signs, driving around, and wishing individuals ‘happy birthdays’ or ‘happy graduations’.?
“I don’t understand. I can’t certainly look at my community credibly and tell them that.”
Like some outside of the scope of law enforcement have pointed out before, mandates with respect to the pandemic have been quite a hotbed of mixed messages and signals.
When looking back at 2020 with respect to the Rio Grande Valley area in Texas, literally hundreds of people were jailed for violating pandemic-related mandates.
Meanwhile, there are federal judges asking how Texas jails can reduce their inmate population due to concerns over the pandemic spreading within jail facilities. It’s a rather bizarre contradiction.
Needless to say, it sounds as though the city of Dallas is onboarding some leadership that – at the very least – is a critical thinker when it pertains to what types of mandates can be reasonably enforced.
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Author: Scott A. Davis