LU tries to pack out the Conservative Political Action Conference through bribes and labeling it as “non-partisan.”
Liberty University gained a national stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Friday, March 1, and tried to fill out the Vines Center in a variety of ways.
Liberty University was one of three Christian universities to serve as a satellite campus for the event, along with Colorado Christian and Pepperdine University. The panel between Donald Trump Jr. and Jerry Falwell Jr. was broadcast nationally from Liberty’s campus.
Liberty made a few pushes to ensure a good turnout.
First, Liberty tried to brand the event as “not political.” Despite the word political appearing in the acronym for the event, Falwell Jr. said in a column published in The Liberty Champion that CPAC is not political, but an event to “show our veterans how much Liberty loves and respects those who have sacrificed so much.”
Vice President of Special Literary Projects Scott Lamb also emphasized the veterans aspect of the program at Wednesday’s Convocation.
“CPAC has the word ‘P,’ political. And you’re thinking ‘Oh this is a political thing that day. Well, we’re a Christian university, we don’t mind politics, it’s part of our culture. It’s part of what we do,” Lamb said in Convocation. “We’re going to show (veterans) that this generation knows that there are some things worth living for and worth dying for. So be part of this event on CPAC on Friday.”
Despite the initial emphasis on veterans, the majority of speakers and presentations were political. The event at Liberty opened with a video broadcast of Vice President Mike Pence extolling the virtues of Donald Trump, going in detail about border security and announcing the launch of the United States Space Force.
Additionally, Falwell Jr. stated the event was not mandatory. He said that any student who chooses to attend will be excused and the professor “will also go to extra lengths to make sure (students) don’t miss anything and that (they) won’t get behind on (their) work.”
This is not true. Students were still required to attend Convocation which runs from 10:30 to 11:30 and featured some of the most politically significant speakers on the roster.
But to make sure students stayed for the daylong event, school administration offered incentives to professors. Multiple professors confirmed that Lamb offered the chance to win gift cards to make their students attend CPAC sessions.
In a Feb. 25 email, the professors were offered to be entered to win one of two $250 Amazon gift cards if they either told their students that their class for the day would be attending CPAC for that hour or offer them extra credit for attending the 3-5 p.m. session.
Multiple professors confirmed that the administration was tracking their attendance. Some educators said they felt an enormous amount of pressure to bring their classes.
Despite incentives, student attendance began thinning out during the Trump Jr. session. During the raffles for scholarships, many numbers were called and missed and the speakers started choosing winners based on their attire or what they had in their hands, like a MAGA hat or cotton candy.
By two p.m. the crowds had heavily thinned.
CPAC may regain some of their crowds with the veteran segment from 3-5 with Gary Sinise at 4:20.