In keeping with Pepperdine University's Christian mission and its heritage in Churches of Christ, all members of the University community are encouraged to consider and respect the teachings of Jesus and historic, biblical Christianity. Pepperdine University affirms that sexual relationships are designed by God to be expressed solely within a marriage between husband and wife. This view of sexuality and marriage is rooted in the Genesis account of creation and is maintained consistently throughout Scripture. Sexual relations of any kind outside of marriage are inconsistent with the teaching of Scripture, as understood by Christian churches throughout history, including Churches of Christ. Therefore, as a matter of moral and faith witness, all members of the University are expected to avoid such conduct themselves and to respect this understanding of sexual relationships.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why does Pepperdine have a statement about sexual relationships?
- Pepperdine provides this statement so that those who join our community are aware of our values and expectations. We believe that Scripture is the ultimate authority on how to conduct our lives and serves as a light to guide our way in a manner that honors God and others. Our understanding of Scripture is that sexual activity is to be expressed only in a marriage between husband and wife, and therefore we are called to a life of chastity when unmarried and a life of fidelity within marriage.
- Can students be disciplined for engaging in sexual activity outside of marriage?
- Sexual misconduct, depending on the facts and circumstances of each case, may result in disciplinary action. In all disciplinary matters, we seek to be redemptive in the lives of the individuals involved. Consequently, the University will offer pastoral care and assistance to support and strengthen the student's resolve to live consistently with traditional Christian teaching on sexuality.
- Can students lose their scholarships or face disciplinary action just for identifying
as LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender)?
- No. However, all students (LGBT and heterosexual) could face disciplinary action and lose their scholarships for violations to the sexual relationships policy.
- How will Pepperdine respond to the harassment of LGBT students?
- Pepperdine will not tolerate the harassment of any member of our community and will take disciplinary action against anyone found responsible for such behavior. Pepperdine is committed to maintaining an environment where students are able to learn and grow without the fear of being harassed. Please report harassment immediately to the Public Safety or the Office of the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Student Affairs. See the harassment policy for more information.
- Is there a support group for LGBT students?
- Yes, Pepperdine believes that students who experience same-sex attraction and gender dysphoria are best supported if they are able to share their questions, struggles or their self-understanding with others in a trusted environment. Experiencing identity issues in isolation can be overwhelming; community support can be positive and nurturing. Thus, the Counseling Center offers a voluntary support group for LGBT (and questioning) students, overseen by an experienced counselor.
- What if students disagree with Pepperdine's statement on sexual relationships?
- Pepperdine respects everyone's right to express his or her opinion and recognizes that there are members of our community who do not agree with the sexual relationships statement. We acknowledge the complexity of issues surrounding sexuality and desire to engage this conversation with courage, humility, prayerfulness, and convicted civility. Pepperdine's religious heritage, while affirming the church's historical position on sexuality, also values the scholarly investigation of Scripture. Consequently, we are committed to the open study of Scripture and discussion of all perspectives, both inside and outside the classroom. Regardless of one's viewpoint, Pepperdine affirms the dignity and worth of every person and seeks to create a campus culture where each person is treated with love and respect.