A scholarship aimed for LGBT students at Pepperdine University in Southern California was announced last week, yet it seemed uncertain if it existed at all amid mixed reports from various sources. The scholarship remains a controversial item for the conservative school, which currently bars students from forming an LGBT student group on campus.
Jerry Derloshon, Senior Director of Public Affairs at Pepperdine University, released more information on Wednesday about the supposed LGBT scholarship Seaver College will be offering to potential students. The details remain murky.
Last week, a press release surfaced unveiling Pepperdine University’s “Frank James ‘Buddy’ Vinci and George B. Ellsworth” scholarship that would benefit students who display a personal commitment to the betterment of the LGBT community.
When 429Magazine approached the school for more information controversy arose regarding the scholarship as the university’s financial aid, admissions, and PR offices became hostile and denied further details as to when it would be available for students or what it entailed.
429Magazine continued to pressure Derloshon to obtain concrete information concerning the scholarship.
After multiple calls, Derloshon finally confirmed that the financial aid award is now officially called the “Vinci and Ellsworth Endowed Scholarship” and that it is a need based scholarship available to applicants who are pursuing a bachelor’s degree at Seaver College.
The endowment will be awarded to a “student whose academic work or personal involvement has demonstrated a commitment to promoting the health (mental and physical) and wellness of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community,” clarified Derloshon.
“We anticipate the endowment to begin this fall semester. The financial aid office at Pepperdine University tries to match available scholarships to applicants. There is not an unlimited amount, of course. Whatever is available will be matched to the applicant who meet the scholarship requirements,” said Derloshon.
The supposed scholarship is available to all potential Seaver College students.
As LGBT student groups are still barred from campus it is unlikely that the scholarship will in fact be endowed to students who fit the requirements stated by Derloshon. There is no separate application available for students to apply for the scholarship as it remains up to the financial aid office to give the award to students who need financial support and demonstrate involvement with supporting the LBGT community.
If Pepperdine denies LGBT activities on campus, questions have arisen as to what would motivate a potential student to mention in his or her application their commitment to LGBT social activism? They would likely be turned down from acceptance.
If students are courageous enough to supplement this information how will the applicants know that this scholarship is relevant to them? Derloshon and the financial aid office had no answers for this.