Convocation 8/30/2017: Nascar and propaganda

Today’s convocation was a true achievement. Despite lasting over an hour, today’s speakers managed to say absolutely nothing of value. Even by the standards of past first convos, the first convocation of fall 2017 managed to reach new levels of inconsequentialness. Disregarding the triviality of today’s convo (I will be unlikely to remember this convo in a week), it seemed to have two major goals: justify Liberty’s sponsorship of a Nascar driver and to indoctrinate the new students into pro-Jerry Falwell and Pro-Jerry Jr. mindset (sorry, not sorry). We will look at each of these two points in turn.

The first major purpose of Wednesday’s convo seemed to be an attempt to justify the sponsorship of William Byron by Liberty University. During the assembly, Jerry and the speakers repeatedly described the sponsorship as a partnership and pushed how successful Byron has been as a racecar driver. While his record as a driver is quite good, the question that should be asked by Liberty student is: “is this a good use of our tuition money?”. Unfortunately, Liberty has not released how much the sponsorship cost, however we do know the average for sponsorships. According to Nascar, the cost of a primary sponsorship, which Liberty has, for a racecar driver ranges from $5 million dollars to $35 million dollars.¹ When we look at the cost of tuition for liberty, $22,880 a semester ignoring house and food, we get some interesting results.² Of the 15,000 or so students at liberty anywhere from 218 to 1530 of them have their entire tuition go towards a sponsorship on a car. That is somewhere between 1% and 10% who have their tuition going towards a sponsorship. Even if the school gets the money for the sponsorship from a source other than tuition, that is between 218 and 1530 possible scholarships that go towards Nascar instead. Looking at the cost of the Byron sponsorship and the negligible benefits it gives students and the university, I find the sponsorship hard to justify.

The other major purpose of convocation was to instill a pro-Jerry (either one) mindset in the students. I am not a fan of either of the Jerrys, for reasons that I will not go into in this post. Instead I will focus on what was said in Convo. During convocation, they said that Liberty University was Jerry Sr.’s dream, but the financial success of the school was a result of Jerry Jr.’s leadership. However, much of that success can be attributed to Jerry Falwell Sr.’s life insurance. The life insurance policy, worth $34 millions dollars, enabled Liberty to pay off all of its debt upon Jerry Sr.’s death. This left Jerry Jr. in a strong financial position just as he was taking the reins of leadership.

Overall, this was a pretty standard first convo. Nothing of any real importance was discussed and no important ideas were shared. Hopefully, future convos are more substantial.

Verdict: Still don’t care about Nascar.





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