The President’s Briefing will begin at 8:45 a.m. PDT, May 5, 2021. See live updates below.
9:39: President Gash ended the Briefing. The next Briefing will take place June 2, at 8:45 a.m. PDT.
9:38: Beverly Wright, executive assistant for the vice president for Student Affairs, closed the Briefing in prayer.
Question and Answer
- Why will the vaccine be required for students, faculty and staff? Phillips pointed to the University’s current vaccination policy. The University is also monitoring students, faculty and staff who have been vaccinated as guidance in this policy creation. Gash also shared over 200 universities will also require the vaccine for the fall.
- Will the vaccine be required for summer? Pepperdine will not require the COVID-19 vaccine for summer sessions in an effort to allow all students to be vaccinated, Gash said. “It’s too soon,” Phillips said. The University is hoping to require the vaccine under regular authorization rather than emergency authorization use.
- Are there any updates about International Programs? Provost Rick Marrs said there are no specific updates about IP for now.
- Will expense optimization measures continue through the next fiscal year? Chief Financial Officer Greg Ramirez said yes, the optimization measures will continue in some way but will be reassessed.
- How many guests are allowed at Seaver commencements for graduates? Currently, two guests per graduate, said Tammy McKelvy Executive Director of Advancement Initiatives and University Events. “We’re hoping to expand that number, but we’re going to have as many as we can,” Gash said.
- What is the policy for on-campus visitors? Visitors are not allowed on campus, Phillips said, outside of exceptions like for commencement.
- When will schools announce plans for the fall? Sometime later this month, Marrs said.
- When will staff be able to return to campus? Sean Mike Phillips shared supervisors can decide who can return based on essential work.
- Will there be furloughs or layoffs in the next fiscal year? There is no expected COVID-19 related impact on hiring and staffing, Gash said.
- Who will the COVID-19 vaccine policy be distributed to? Faculty, staff and students, Phillips said.
- What does it mean to be fully vaccinated? Two weeks following the final injection of the COVID-19 vaccine, Phillips said.
- Is the University considering social distancing protocols for the fall semester? County guidance for the fall remains uncertain for the fall, especially considering increased permissions with vaccinated persons, Phillips said, but said he thinks the majority of day-to-day life will be unhindered by COVID-19 guidance. Mask-wearing is still anticipated. Student events, arts and athletics are anticipated to proceed with some restrictions, Gash said.
- Is the COVID-19 vaccine available at Pepperdine? Can I get my second vaccine at the Student Health Center if I got my first vaccine elsewhere? Yes and yes, said Connie Horton, vice president for Student Affairs. International students can receive individual consultation on their vaccination. The SHC has mostly provided Moderna with some Pfizer, Taylor said.
- What will New Student Orientation look like this fall? “We will certainly do everything we can to create the spirit, the wonderful welcoming spirit that is in NSO,” Horton said.
- Will the Graziadio Villa be open for events in the fall? The hotel spaces of the Villa is being used as a COVID-19 quarantine space and that is expected to continue through the fall, Taylor said. The auditorium and other classroom spaces are going to be on the 25 Live Scheduling software for events in the fall.
9:17: Chief Business Officer Nicolle Taylor opened the Briefing’s Question and Answer forum.
9:16: “September 2, mark your calendars,” Gash said. “I’m just going to say — mark your calendars. You’re not going to want to miss what’s happening on September 2, stay tuned for more details.”
9:15: August 20-26, Seaver college will provide a Year 2 kick-off to introduce sophomore students the opportunity to bond.
9:15: The University continues to anticipate a fully-opened fall 2021 semester, Gash said, but is unsure of which COVID-19 regulations will be in place
9:13: In a summer school update, Gash shared students will be able to live in residential housing with an increased capacity than anticipated due to increased county permissions.
9:11: Gash gave a shoutout to theater performance, “Ugly Lies the Bone,” directed by Kathy Thomas Grant which opens this weekend. Gash also highlighted Athletics post-season events including beach volleyball, men and women’s volleyball, men and women’s tennis, men and women’s golf and baseball.
9:10: The University will continue to maintain expense optimization measures through July 31, Gash said, and will resume the retirement matching in the next fiscal year.
9:10: Much of the revenue shortfall is related to decreased housing revenue, Gash said, as the University was unable to house students other than those facing exemptions.
9:08: President Gash provides a financial update on the University. At the beginning of the 2021 fiscal year, the University anticipated as much of $80 million of a gap in budget. At the closure of the ninth month of FY21, the University has experienced increase COVID-19-related expenses and revenue shortfalls of $76 million.
9:07: The University has provided more than 1,400 COVID-19 vaccines to community members and Malibu residents, Phillips said. For more information about vaccinations at the Student Health Center, community members can call (310) 506-8111
9:06: The three campus outbreaks — between Athletics, Lovernich and Drescher Apartments — are now considered closed, Phillips said.
9:05: All attendees at commencement must have tickets and reserved seat, Phillips said. “No one will be able to show up like we are accustomed to doing,” Phillips said.
9:04: For commencement, Phillips said commencement capacity will increase but will probably not reach 67% due to social distancing protocols. New tickets may be available per each school’s commencement ceremony.
9:02: LA County has moved into the Yellow Tier on the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. In this new tier, Pepperdine can increase venue capacity from 33% to 67%.
9:01: Chief Operating Officer Phil Phillips added the COVID-19 vaccine policy will allow for religious and medical exemptions. The vaccine sub-committee will provide a new vaccine policy draft to the University management committee and Steering Team who will then seek community feedback.
8:58: Lee Kats, vice provost and chair of the University vaccine policy sub-committee, provides an update on Pepperdine’s COVID-19 vaccine policy. The second draft of the University vaccine policy will require all students to be vaccinated by the fall and faculty and staff will be required to provide their vaccination status.
“The overarching goal of the policy will be to provide maximum safety to our community, while at the same time, facility a return to the campus activities of teaching, learning, scholarship and fellowship that best reflect the heart of who we are,” Kats said.
8:55: Joi Carr, professor of English and Film, sings a medley of Don’t Do It Without Me and Glorify.
8:48: Rebecca Malzahn, assistant vice chancellor and senior director of Development at the Caruso School of Law, begins with a devotion about the Biblical idea of a “city on a hill.”
8:47: President Jim Gash opens the briefing and provides an outline of events for the meeting.