Monday, March 4, 2013

Around The Nation

Pepperdine University
Pepperdine University Announces Needs Based LGBTQ Scholarship
MALIBU, CA -- The Pepperdine University’s student newspaper “The Pepperdine Graphic,” announced that the Vinci-Ellsworthe Scholarship for students of LGBT causes will now be offered to students of all sexualities.
The scholarship is a need-based scholarship given to those “promoting the health (mental or physical) and wellness of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) community,” according to the online application.
According to Pepperdine's provost, Dr. Darryl Tippens, “The Vinci-Ellsworthe Scholarship was established and funded by Pepperdine donors Frank James Vinci and George Bushnell Ellsworthe." Jerry Derloshon, senior director of public affairs at the university acknowledged that the initial introduction of the scholarship was announced on February 12 and applications are being accepted through March 31.
Pepperdine, which has barred LGBT groups from forming on its campus, last year the university refusing to recognise an on campus LGBT advocacy group called Reach OUT, appears unwilling to discuss the scholarship with outside media.
Provost Tippens however, in an e-mail to the Graphic, wrote that the scholarship is a continuation of the university’s commitment to diversity rather than a change in policy or practice.
“The scholarship does not indicate any new direction or policy at the university,” Tippens wrote. “Rather, the scholarship supports the university’s longstanding commitment to provide a welcoming environment to all students, regardless of orientation. 
I do not foresee any changes in the character, mission or constituencies of the university. We remain a seriously Christian university, dedicated to the same principles and expectations that are articulated in our various documents, policies and handbooks.”
The University's Mission Statement, spelled out in the student handbook reads:
"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."
Noelle Marion, a Pepperdine alumna and creator of the Reach OUT Facebook group said:
“I believe the scholarship will have an undoubtedly positive effect on the LGBT community on campus. The allocation of this scholarship is an indication that the university acknowledges that LGBT students (and supporters) are represented in the Pepperdine family and more notably that these students are worthy of positive recognition.” 
She added, "in the overall atmosphere of higher education, this inclusion and attention given to the LGBT community by the university, not only builds and recognizes the character of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered individuals striving for various degrees at the university, it also gives off a since of belonging and an identification of existence."
The scholarship is maintained by the  Frank James Vinci and George B. Ellsworth Trust and is administered by Rancho Robles Properties, Inc.