The administration recently decided not to recognize the self-proclaimed "gay-straight alliance" group Reach OUT as an official university club. The decision has led to the creation of a petition demanding the administration reverse its decision.
The story was first reported in the Graphic, the Malibu university's student-run newspaper. The publication reported that Pepperdine Dean of Students Mark Davis said the decision was made to honor "the biblical conviction that sexual activity should be reserved for a husband-wife relationship."
"Pepperdine seeks to be faithful to this teaching because we believe it is God's will, and therefore we cannot endorse another view or take a neutral position on sexual morality." said Davis, according to the newspaper. "Although Reach OUT stated in its application that it has no position on sexual activity, we do not believe it is possible for an LGBT student organization to maintain a neutral position."
The petition states, "Pepperdine students often struggle to be honest about their sexual orientation because they fear rejection from their peers as well as the risk of losing their scholarships and leadership opportunities. Moreover, professors do not feel comfortable speaking on the issue, worrying that they will be denied tenure or research grants."
The petition calls for the university administration to "rescind its previous decision and instead grant equal recognition to LGBT students by approving Reach OUT's application."
Pepperdine's main campus is located on Pacific Coast Highway off Malibu Canyon Road, but it is not part of the city of Malibu. The university was not included in the map when voters approved cityhood in 1990 and it does not use the 90265 ZIP Code as the city and other unincorporated parts of Malibu do.