Pepperdine University Community Remembers Borderline Shooting and Woolsey Fire Anniversaries
On November 7 and November 8, 2021, the Pepperdine community gathered for special events to remember the anniversary of the Borderline Shooting, where twelve people, including one of Pepperdine’s own, Alaina Housley, were killed, and the historic Woolsey Fire, which ignited just hours after the shooting and devastated the Ventura and Los Angeles County communities. The events recognized the third anniversary of the tragedies as students, faculty, staff, and alumni commemorated the events and honored the community that continues to support one another through great loss.
“The echo of fear and grief we felt three years ago continues to reverberate for me and many in our community,” reflected Seaver College dean Michael Feltner. This year, in what would have been Alaina’s senior year, students, faculty, and staff remained dedicated to sharing their stories with new members of the community and reflecting on the unforgettable impact these two tragic events had on the Pepperdine community.
The first of the remembrance events was a Candlelight Vigil in Joslyn Plaza on Sunday, November 7, at 7 PM. Attendees gathered to hear powerful reflections from the Housley family. In addition, attendees recounted the hours following the shooting and their time spent in the urgent shelter-in-place protocol, watching from Payson Library’s windows as the ominous flames of the Woolsey Fire threatened Pepperdine’s campus. The moving event closed with song and prayer.
On November 8, the Stauffer Chapel remained open from 9:45 AM to 2 PM for community members to take part in a time of prayer and remembrance in honor of Alaina and the other victims of the Borderline shooting. On the same day, from 11 AM to 1 PM, student organizations, University departments, and representatives from the Alaina’s Voice Foundation gathered to celebrate Alaina’s life and impact on Pepperdine’s culture. The Hope Forward celebrations featured music, some of Alaina’s favorite treats, and resources to help others spread hope, kindness, and resilience.
In addition to the events open to the entire community, president Jim Gash hosted an intimate dinner with the Housley family, students who were at Borderline the night of the shooting, and a few Pepperdine staff preceding the Candlelight Vigil. A second small dinner was hosted on November 8 on the Lighthouse Patio for Alaina’s suitemates, friends, and faculty and staff close to Alaina or her family.
As the community continues to heal, the Pepperdine RISE program offers resources to support students in navigating mental and physical health difficulties in the midst of crisis. Students may also find support in navigating grief and loss through the Pepperdine Counseling Center or with any of the University chaplains.