Pepperdine Cancels In-Person Instruction, Anticipating Governor’s Order

Pepperdine students embrace one another after learning they must soon depart campus due to COVID-19 concerns. (March 2020)

After months of preparing a restoration plan and hoping to reopen in the fall, Pepperdine University announced on Wednesday, July 22, its fall semester will be taking place entirely online. The decision followed Governor Gavin Newsom’s order last week, which prohibits in-person instruction beginning in the fall for K-12 schools in 31 California counties, including in Los Angeles County. 

According to statements from the university, a similar order is expected from the governor that will prohibit in-person classes at colleges and universities this fall, giving university administrators “little confidence” campus could reopen to offer in-person instruction “in a way that reflects Pepperdine’s standards of excellence.”

“Given these circumstances, we have decided we can best protect the health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff by conducting our fall semester online,” the university said in a press release from the office of President Jim Gash. “As you know, this was not the decision we had hoped or planned to make. Our faculty and staff and regents have worked tirelessly throughout the summer to prepare us for safe in-person instruction and on-campus housing. Although we are extremely disappointed that the renewed safety concerns are taking us in a different direction, we all believe this is the right decision for the health and safety of our Pepperdine family.”

According to information from the university, faculty, staff and regents had been preparing all summer for students to return to campus safely, but also prepared to provide a “world-class academic instruction online, “in case circumstances dictated that campuses could not reopen this fall.”

As for on-campus housing, Pepperdine is not expected to be permitted to reopen its Malibu campus for normal residential life; however, the university expects to receive permission to house students who experience compelling hardships which necessitates residing on campus this fall.

According to Pepperdine Graphic Media, the Seaver College “international” program in Washington DC has also been suspended. 

Undergrad classes were still set to resume on Aug. 17 and would conclude on Thursday, Nov. 19.