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Seaver College Spring 2021 | April 12 Update

April 12, 2021

As we enter the tenth week of the spring semester at Seaver College, I hope that everyone enjoyed the mini-break for Easter and is feeling energized for the final six weeks of the semester.

COVID-19 Conditions

Since my last communication on March 17, COVID-19 infection rates have continued to remain modest in Los Angeles County. Currently, L.A. County has an adjusted case rate of 3.1 new cases per 100,000 residents and a seven day average test positivity rate of 1.4 percent. Vaccination progress remains high with over 18 percent of all L.A. County residents fully vaccinated. L.A. County moved to the "moderate," or orange tier, of the California Blueprint for a Safer Economy on March 30. With additional declines in case rates and continued vaccination progress, it is possible that L.A. County may be assigned to the lowest current tier, the "minimal" or yellow tier, next month.

Malibu Campus Activities

389 days after suspending classes on the Malibu campus, Seaver College resumed optional in-person instruction in a limited number of classes on April 6, 2021. Instruction has resumed in traditional classroom-based courses and in laboratory, art, studio, and other similar classes. As a reminder, all optional in-person classes also provide simultaneous online or remote instruction to support students who choose not to attend in-person classes or are unable to do so. Complete details on the resumption of optional in-person classes were provided in the March 16 update. Seaver continues to allow students the ability to use Payson Library and outdoor study spaces.

Safety and Compliance

As on-campus activities resume and hopefully increase in scope during the remainder of the spring semester, the University will continue to act to ensure full compliance with state and county guidelines. Students returning to the Malibu campus should expect limitations on the maximum number of individuals present in each learning space, to wear face coverings at all times in academic and public spaces, and to maintain a six-foot social distance space among all present.


Despite moving into the orange tier, campus housing remains closed with limited exceptions as mandated by L.A. County guidelines. Housing information for both summer 2021 sessions will be provided in a message from the Housing and Residence Life (HRL) office later today.

The room sign-up process for the fall semester began on March 10 for returning students and will continue as long as space is available. Students with questions on the sign-up process or any housing-related matter may contact HRL at housing@pepperdine.edu. Students are also encouraged to review frequently asked questions on the HRL website.

May 2021 Commencement Ceremonies

As shared in a message to all students and families in the Classes of 2020 and 2021 on March 26, current state and county guidelines limit attendance at live outdoor events to residents of the State of California. Pepperdine is advocating at the state and county level for this restriction to be lifted. We are cautiously optimistic that we will receive updated guidance that will remove the residency restriction for commencement ceremonies in the near future. For this reason, we will delay a final decision on the college's planned commencement ceremonies until April 26.

  • In the event that state or county restrictions prevent Seaver College from holding commencement ceremonies in May or these restrictions preclude the participation of non-California residents, Seaver College will defer both ceremonies to a later date.
  • If the California residency requirement for participation in commencement is lifted, Seaver will move forward to hold its commencement ceremonies as planned. The dates and times of each ceremony are listed below. Occupancy limitations and physical distancing requirements will be required for both ceremonies and will likely limit each graduate to a maximum of two guests. Information on tickets for in-person guests will be forthcoming. Both ceremonies will be live-streamed for the enjoyment of the friends and family of each graduate.

Class of 2020 Commencement Ceremony
Date: Friday, May 21, 2021
Time: 3 PM
Location: Alumni Park

Class of 2021 Commencement Ceremony
Date: Saturday, May 22, 2021
Time: 3 PM
Location: Alumni Park

Graduates and their families are encouraged to check their commencement ceremony websites frequently. The most updated information will be provided on these sites. Additionally, an update will be sent to all members of the Classes of 2020 and 2021 and their parents on April 26.

To ensure the ability of all Class of 2021 graduates to participate in May commencement ceremonies, if they occur, it is critical that the Intent to Graduate Form be completed and returned to OneStop no later than April 19, 2021. Graduates in both classes should expect an email message on April 13 with RSVP information for the commencement ceremonies and continue to check their Pepperdine email frequently for forthcoming messages related to the commencement ceremonies.

Delaying a decision regarding the commencement ceremonies enhances the likelihood the May commencement ceremonies may occur, but it also limits the time graduates and guests will have to plan for their attendance. We ask for your understanding as we explore every possible avenue to provide our graduates the ceremony they deserve at the earliest date possible. All students and families are encouraged to avoid making non-refundable travel arrangements until a final decision is communicated. There will be no further delays beyond April 26.

Summer 2021 Sessions - International Programs

After months of careful examination of the conditions, regulations, and restrictions at each of our international residential campuses, we regret to announce that summer 2021 programs in London, Lausanne, Heidelberg, Florence, and Buenos Aires have been suspended for both the June and July summer sessions. Additionally, the faculty-led program to Uganda in July 2021 has been suspended. We are deeply disappointed that these decisions were necessary. Many factors resulted in this outcome including the inability for travelers to gain entry to most countries; restrictions on gathering size, room occupancy, and essential program activities; mandated quarantine periods; guidance from the CDC; increasing COVID-19 case rates; and slower rates of vaccination progress abroad.

Consistent with the college's practices since the onset of the pandemic, students in these programs will not be assessed the IP withdrawal fee.

The Washington, DC internship program will operate as planned in the summer of 2021.

Students enrolled in summer international programs will receive a detailed follow-up message from the Office of International Programs either later today or tomorrow.

Summer 2021 Sessions - Malibu

Pepperdine University received positive forward-looking guidance that on-campus residency will be permissible for both the June and July summer sessions. All students should watch their Pepperdine email today for information regarding summer session on-campus housing.

To accommodate all students, including those whose summer international program has been suspended, Seaver College will deliver a mix of in-person and online classes during both summer sessions. Students interested in enrolling in one or both sessions are encouraged to check the course schedule in WaveNet and register for classes as soon as possible. Seats remain in most summer classes. The college also will be adding several new courses to the summer schedule in the coming weeks and students are encouraged to check the schedule of classes frequently.

Students with questions concerning summer school enrollment should reach out to OneStop or their academic advisor.

Fall 2021 Semester - Malibu

Pepperdine University and Seaver College will deliver all fall semester classes in person on its Malibu campus while students reside in on-campus residence halls in both single and double-occupancy rooms. Our confidence in making this declaration arises from many sources.

  • Governor Newsom's recent announcement of his plan to reopen California on June 15.
  • Forward-looking guidance received from the L.A. County Department of Public Health.
  • Positive rates of vaccination progress in Los Angeles County, the United States, and among Pepperdine faculty and staff.
  • The ability for all current and prospective students to make appointments for COVID-19 vaccination beginning April 15.

It is our expectation that the fall semester on the Malibu campus will be enlivened by an overwhelmingly vaccinated group of students, faculty, and staff, who through their actions greatly enhance the safety of the University and surrounding communities.

Throughout the spring and summer, we will continue to provide returning and new students updates regarding the fall 2021 semester and the 2021–2022 academic year.

Fall 2021 Semester - International Programs

The Office of International Programs is monitoring the health, safety, and regulatory conditions at each of our six international campus locations as we prepare to deliver all fall 2021, spring 2022, and academic year 2021–2022 international programs in person and on site. We are confident that conditions will improve throughout the summer and allow for the easing of restrictions in each host country. As a result, Seaver College expects to deliver in-person classes at each of our six international program campuses during the fall semester.

We will keep students and families updated on the status of each program and provide a more detailed update in mid-May. We advise fall 2021 semester students to avoid incurring non-refundable expenses—medical exams, immunizations, visa, or personal travel—until additional information is provided in future updates.

As a reminder, the latest international program updates are available on the COVID-19 FAQ website.

International Students

Pepperdine University is aware of the challenges faced by international students in securing a visa to return to the United States for either summer 2021 or fall 2021 semester classes. Through professional organizations, we have joined with a wide range of colleges and universities to advocate for changes that will accelerate the visa process for international students. Presently, we are planning for ways to support international students when they return to Pepperdine while also exploring numerous options to ensure continued enrollment if their return is delayed. The college will provide additional details on these efforts in future updates or in messages from the Office of International Student Services (OISS) directly to international students.

As reported in previous updates, there have been no updates to SEVP's regulatory guidance since fall 2020. The college and OISS will continue to provide updates if more information becomes available. International students seeking information about eligibility, SEVIS statuses, and travel information should review the International Student FAQs on the Seaver College COVID-19 Updates website. Students returning to the US should monitor the CDC website as travel guidelines continue to change.

2021–2022 Academic Calendar and Fall Semester Registration

To aid your planning for next year, the finalized 2021–2022 Academic Calendar remains available on the Seaver College website. Registration for the fall 2021 semester concludes today for first-year students, but students may continue to add and drop courses from their fall schedule through September 3.

Support Resources and Community Programming

We remain aware of the challenges many students are experiencing. For this reason, I continue to remind you that support for your academic success or physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual well-being remains available.

Please continue to utilize all University resources regardless of your current location. These include faculty office hours, Payson Library, the Student Success Center, the Career Center, OneStop, Academic Advising, the Student Care Team, the Hub for Spiritual Life, the Student Health Center, the Counseling Center, and Intercultural Affairs. All of these offices, functions, and support services are open, eager, and ready to support students. I especially encourage you to take advantage of the coaching and support available through the RISE program and spiritual life areas.

Future Communication

Pepperdine will continue to monitor conditions and remain in discussion with L.A. County Public Health officials. If there are changes in status that alter any information included in this or previous updates for the summer sessions or fall semester, Seaver College will update the community as soon as reasonably possible.

This message will serve as the college's final scheduled communication regarding the spring 2021 semester. The college's next update will be issued on May 12, and it will provide additional details regarding Seaver's two summer sessions and updated guidance for the fall semester. During the intervening four weeks, the college will continue to use all communication channels including email, the Navigate app, mobile text messaging, and Student Government Association platforms to keep students and the Seaver community updated, as necessary.


Things are improving. We've moved into the orange tier, are nearing the yellow tier, and the governor has announced that California will plan to reopen on June 15! Many faculty and staff are now fully vaccinated and students have begun to be vaccinated. The reasons for optimism continue to increase. They provide hope that soon the pandemic will be behind us and we will be together as a community at Pepperdine University.

As shared in my previous message, we can see the finish line but we are not there yet. Let's finish this race strong and remain diligent—wear a mask, practice social distancing, visit with friends and loved ones outdoors, and get vaccinated at your earliest opportunity. In doing so, we enhance the safety and well-being of ourselves and our neighbors while taking additional steps toward normalcy.

I wish you the very best in the remaining weeks of the semester and continue to pray for your health and happiness. May God continue to bless you.