MALIBU, Calif. — Pepperdine University has announced a new scholarship for “students who have demonstrated a commitment to the LGBT community,” according to the university’s student newspaper, the Pepperdine Graphic.
The Vinci-Ellsworthe 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, and “students of all genders or sexual identities are eligible.”
The scholarship was established and funded by Pepperdine donors Frank James Vinci and George Bushnell Ellsworthe,” according to Provost Darryl Tippens.
Tippens wrote in an email that the scholarship is a continuation of the university’s commitment to diversity rather than a change in policy or practice, reported the Graphic.
Pepperdine has a conservative track record in dealing with LGBT issues. Last January, the school refused to recognize Reach OUT, a group of LGBT student advocates, as an official university club. The university has also had other campus conflicts over its official position on students and LGBT issues.
“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,” wrote Tippens.
“The scholarship does not indicate any new direction or policy at the university,” he added.
The University’s mission statement, printed 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.”
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