Marginalized groups on campus often raise valid concerns of diversity, inclusivity, and their sense of belonging on campus. These concerns are often met with invalidating comments from some disgruntled parents and alumni of Pepperdine’s past.
Pepperdine General Education requirements are on track to change in the next two years, and students and faculty alike hope for a more individualized and diverse course load. With no changes in Pepperdine’s GEs in over 20 years, Paul Begin, associate dean of Curriculum and General Education, said the University is ready to take action to fit the prevailing student needs.
Two Pepperdine seniors were the first recipients of the Fellowship for Equity and Social Justice. Jerry Calderon and Katelin Goño are student activists for diversity and inclusion within the Pepperdine community, and said they hope their efforts will have a lasting impact on students and administrators.
It would be an inconsiderate assumption to say everyone at Pepperdine feels at home. The University must take more steps to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in and out of classrooms.
In a March 3 President’s Briefing, President Jim Gash introduced J. Goosby Smith as the first vice president for community belonging and chief diversity officer and April Harris Akinloye as the assistant vice president for community belonging. Smith and Harris Akinloye will head diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives at Pepperdine starting June 1.
Pepperdine’s actions to promote equality must be further amplified, considering its numbers do not show any effort toward promoting a diverse community.
President Jim Gash shared the Presidential Action Advisory Team’s recommendations in an email for diversity and inclusion measures to be introduced at Pepperdine. The seven key areas include curriculum, hiring, diversity and inclusion education, environment and culture, a center for diversity, Presidential Speaker Series and assessment.
Pepperdine pledged to create a more inclusive and diverse environment at the University. The next step is hiring more faculty members of color and supporting those who already work at Pepperdine.
As the #BlackLivesMatter social movement and the death of George Floyd call for the end of police brutality and systematic oppression, students at Pepperdine are demanding change at the university level, sharing their stories of racism and anti-Blackness through the recent @BlackAtPepperdine account.
The Graphic is committed to being and doing better, amplifying the Black voices in the Pepperdine community.