Pepperdine is following through on its commitment to support the LGBT community presence on campus. Building Bridges, a campus resource for LGBT affairs, hosted the second meeting of the six-part Convocation series, which is designed to be an open forum for conversation, on Tuesday night.
Last spring the 2011-2012 Building Bridges Committee submitted a four-tier plan. One of the recommendations in this plan was that the university should “provide additional forums for the university community to become better informed about LGBT issues.”
The university showed support in the spring for the recommendation to hold a “Building Bridges Forum.” This forum will be held every Tuesday night at 6 p.m., going beyond the once a month plan that was originally recommended. This Convocation series is modeled after a Club Convo, requiring those who choose to participate to attend five of the six forums to receive credit. Future meeting are open by online RSVP only. Members of the Graphic staff were asked to leave Tuesday night after they requested to take pictures of the speaker.
Mark Davis, dean of Student Affairs and Building Bridges chair, said in a statement about closing the event to the Graphic on Tuesday: “Pepperdine’s affirmation statement says that truth has nothing to fear from investigation, and so we are putting our mission into practice through Building Bridges Forum. Through open sharing and deep inquiry ewe hope members will hone both their convictions and their respect for one another.”
University Chaplain David Lemley, who leads the discussion, said that the forum has been designed as Club Convo and closed to anyone not signed up as of Tuesday night.
“Often it is a very personal conversation and we didn’t want to just leave it open to people coming and going,” Lemley said. “It is meant to be a place where people can express their views, their concerns, talk about their relationships and not feel anxious about the reaction they might get from that.”
Last week was the introduction of six such forums that will take place until Nov. 27. Nov. 20 is the only week when the forum will not be held.
There has been an overall positive view of this forum, according to those who have joined in on the discussion.
The description provided of the series on the Convocation website states the following: “The Building Bridges Forum will give voice to diverse perspectives and experiences in our community’s LGBTQ conversation. We will share our experience and walk together through a reflection of how scripture and the Christian heritage can shape decisions for life together at Pepperdine. Faculty, staff and students will hear from Pepperdine community members, and share their own reflections as we listen together.”
Freshman Justina Huang attended the forum for the first time Tuesday night and felt that “even if [she] didn’t find answers, it was just good to talk about it (LGBT issues).”
Lemley said he looks forward to different formats to the forum in the future, but felt that for this semester the closed format of the forum would be most effective in its pilot run.