Pepperdine University has officially announced an LGBT scholarship after much controversy surrounding the existence and implementation of the award.
The university’s student online magazine, the Pepperdine Graphic, released in-depth coverage informing the community of the Vinci-Ellsworthe Scholarship, which will be awarded to students “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.”
Although seen as a step forward, Pepperdine is still refusing to acknowledge Reach OUT, a student LGBT support organization,as an accredited official student group on campus. Recent alumna Noelle Marion continues to lead a movement to have Reach OUT openly available to students at Pepperdine.
“It will provide prospective LGBT students with the understanding that there is an LGBT community in the midst of Pepperdine’s conservative and religious climate and that these individuals are being financially supported by the university,” stated Marion in student newspaper.
Former president of the unofficial student group Lindsay Jakows wrote an open letter to the Pepperdine Graphic warning the community that too much praise in support of the scholarship should not be given to the school just yet.
“While I applaud Mr. Vinci and Mr. Ellsworth’s generosity and Pepperdine’s recognition of this scholarship as a valuable symbolic step, I want to see more long-term social change for the LGBTQ community at Pepperdine,” wrote Jakows.
“A scholarship may reward good work, but nothing accomplishes those goals to the extent that a university-recognized, student-led organization would.”