Pepperdine University seemed uncertain on whether or not they were in fact offering an LGBT scholarship. After denying to release any more information, Jerry Derloshon, senior director of public affairs at the university, eventually informed 429Magazine that the scholarship does exist, but does not know what it entailed nor when it would be available to students.
Derloshon told 429Magazine that he would call later on Friday to give complete details on the scholarship, when applications would begin and disclose all information. However, he never phoned back.
On February 12, a third-party press release stated information about Pepperdine’s latest “Frank James ‘Buddy’ Vinci and George B. Ellsworth” scholarship that will be awarded to students who have academic involvement and demonstrated personal commitment with the betterment and progress of the LGBT community.
The school was less than forthcoming in divulging information.
Initially, the admissions and financial aid offices helped with the search, but after a few hours, and multiple phone calls, both offices became hostile, refusing to answer any questions related to the scholarship.
They transferred all further questions to Derloshon in PR. While he claims to confirm the existence of the scholarship, that is all the information he gave.
It appears that the trust indeed does exist in the name of Frank James Vinci and George B. Ellsworth through a non-profit organization. The address associated with the account is that of Pepperdine University: 24255 Pacific Coast Highway Malibu, California 90263. Ostensibly, it appears that the fund exists, with more than $340,000 in its coffers.
It is administered by Rancho Robles Properties, Inc. However, there is no further contact information about this company online or from the university.
The situation concerning the scholarship remains nearly a mystery. The link on the original press release to the application does not exist and Pepperdine itself, which has barred LGBT groups from forming on its campus, appears unwilling to discuss the matter with the media. There is much speculation surrounding this scholarship.
The student handbook found on the seaver.pepperdine.edu student affairs site states, “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.”
Both The Advocate and Gay Star News, among others, reported the story, seemingly straight from the press release.
429Magazine is still waiting for confirmation from Pepperdine University confiming whether or not the scholarship actually exists.