Each student is responsible for knowing and adhering to all policies and regulations, and is expected to demonstrate respect for the rights and property of others, both within and outside the university community. Given Pepperdine University's foundation on the Christian faith as the basis for its expectations of student conduct, it is expected that all students will maintain the highest standards of personal honor, integrity, morality, and orderliness. The university reserves the right to refuse admittance to or dismiss any person who violates these policies.
All members of the university community are expected to comply with the laws and regulations of the federal government, the State of California, the County of Los Angeles, and of Pepperdine University. Cooperation with officers of the University Department of Public Safety and public law enforcement personnel in the conduct of their duties is required.
While the policies outlined in this handbook provide students an effective set of guidelines for personal conduct, the university retains the right to instate additional policies or to modify existing ones as needs may dictate.
Students at Pepperdine University School of Law are treated as members of the legal profession to which they aspire, and are expected to conduct themselves accordingly.
The American Bar Association's Code of Professional Responsibility provides: "A lawyer should maintain high standards of professional conduct and should encourage fellow lawyers to do likewise. He should be temperate and dignified, and shall refrain from all illegal and morally reprehensible conduct. Because of his position in society, even minor violations of law by a lawyer may tend to lessen public confidence in the legal profession. Obedience to law exemplifies respect for law. To lawyers especially, respect for the law should be more than a platitude."
A similar moral responsibility rests upon the Pepperdine law student in every aspect of law school life. The Academic Honor Code, administered by elected student representatives, is a central part of the culture of the law school. The theme of the honor system is that the integrity of the lawyer is the basis of our legal system. The Student Code of Conduct governs non-academic behavior. Both the Academic Honor Code and the Student Code of Conduct are in the Academic Catalog under regulations on the law school web site, and all students are required to be familiar with them.
Pepperdine University expects from all of its students the highest standard of moral and ethical behavior in harmony with its Christian philosophy and purposes. Engaging in or promoting conduct or lifestyles inconsistent with traditional Christian values is not acceptable.
All students of the School of Law owe a continuing duty to report in writing to the Dean of the School of Law any conviction, guilty plea or plea of nolo contrendere (no contest to the charge), except regarding minor traffic offenses. The report must be made within 14 days of the conviction or plea. The university reserves the right to dismiss a student, after reasonable notice and an opportunity to be heard, who has been convicted or pled guilty or nolo contrendre to an offense other than a minor traffic violation, or who fails to notify the School of Law of a conviction or plea as described above.
It is the desire of Pepperdine University to foster an alcohol-and-drug free environment in which to work, live, and learn. As a Christian University, Pepperdine attempts to take an approach to individual problems of alcohol or drug use characterized by helpfulness, compassion, understanding, and encouragement on the one hand, and by directness and concerned firmness on the other. It is also the law school's intent to comply with the Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Amendment of 1998. See Substance Abuse Policy in this handbook. Consequently, the consumption or possession of alcoholic beverages or possession of empty containers is prohibited on university property, regardless of a student's age. Intoxication is also prohibited. The use, possession, distribution, or sale of all illegal or potentially harmful drugs or drug-related paraphernalia is strictly prohibited. Anyone involved in the sale of drugs will be dismissed immediately.
If you believe an individual poses an imminent threat to a member or members of the University community, please contact our Department of Public Safety immediately. If you are located at a graduate campus and believe imminent danger is likely, please contact 911 immediately and then contact the Department of Public Safety.If you do not believe that harm is imminent, but an individual's behavior seems threatening or seems likely it could lead to harm to the individual or to the community, you should report the concern. If you are a student or a faculty member, contact Public Safety or your dean's office. If you are a staff member or other member of the community, contact Public Safety or the Center for Human Resources. In the event you would like to submit a report during non-business hours, the Department of Public Safety is open everyday, 24 hours a day. It is better to err on the side of notifying the appropriate individuals than to remain silent; the institution has resources with which to assess these situations and the individual of concern. If you have any questions, please contact the Department of Public Safety.
For convenience, contact information appears below:
Department of Public Safety (310) 506-4442
Seaver College Dean of Students Office (310) 506-4472
School of Law Dean's Office (310) 506-4621
GSBM Dean's Office (310) 568-5689
GSEP Dean's Office (310) 568-5615
SPP Dean's Office (310) 506-7490
Center for Human Resources(310) 506-4397
Out of concern for the health and safety of members of the university community, and to uphold the moral character of the educational environment, students are expected to make decisions regarding their sexual relationships consistent with the university's Christian philosophy.
The School of Law does not discriminate against any person on the basis of any sexual orientation which such person may have. However, sexual conduct outside of marriage is inconsistent with the school's religious traditions and values. Therefore, as a matter of moral and faith witness, the faculty, staff, and students of the School of Law are expected to avoid such conduct themselves and the encouraging of it in others.
Pepperdine University affirms that all members of our community are created in the image of God and therefore should be treated with dignity and respect. Our University Code of Ethics states that we do not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of any status or condition protected by applicable federal or state law. Further, we respect the inherent worth of each member of the community and do not engage in any forms of harassment. We follow the profound truth found in the Golden Rule, “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12).
Speech that constitutes a protected exercise of a student’s rights under California’s Leonard Law will not be deemed a violation of this policy. However, some speech that may be protected by the Leonard Law is nonetheless inconsistent with the Golden Rule, and students are encouraged to live by this higher standard rooted in our Christian faith and heritage.
Discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct, and any related retaliation, as defined below, will not be tolerated and will result in disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from the University. This policy applies to students and governs conduct that occurs both on and off campus.
Unlawful discrimination occurs when an individual is treated less favorably with respect to the administration of the University’s educational programs and activities, admissions, financial aid, or on-campus housing, based upon that individual’s membership in a class protected by applicable law.
Harassment is defined as conduct that is so severe and/or pervasive, and objectively offensive, that its effect, whether or not intended, impairs a person’s ability to participate in the University’s educational programs and activities or their living environment. Objectively offensive conduct means that it must be offensive both to the recipient of the conduct and to a “reasonable person” in the recipient’s circumstances.
Examples of Harassment include, but are not limited to:
Sexual misconduct includes sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual assault. Sexual misconduct can be committed by men or women, and it can occur between people of the same or different sex.
Discrimination (as defined above) on the basis of an individual’s sex.
Sexual Harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. It includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is sufficiently serious that it interferes with or limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s educational programs and activities or their living environment. Sexual Harassment also includes gender-based harassment, which may include acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on sex or sex-stereotyping, even if those acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature. This definition will be interpreted and applied in a manner consistent with the accepted standards of mature behavior, academic freedom, and the mission of the University.
Examples of Sexual Harassment include, but are not limited to:
Sexual assault is a general term that covers a broad range of inappropriate and/or unlawful conduct, including rape, sexual battery, and sexual coercion. As defined under California law, rape is nonconsensual sexual intercourse that involves the use or threat of force, violence, or immediate and unlawful bodily injury or threats of future retaliation and duress. Other examples of sexual assault include the following nonconsensual acts: oral copulation, anal intercourse, and penetration of the anal or vaginal area with a foreign object, including a finger. Sexual battery includes the nonconsensual touching of a person’s intimate parts, or the clothing covering the immediate area of those parts, or forcing a person to touch another’s intimate parts. Sexual coercion is the act of using pressure (including physical, verbal, or emotional pressure), alcohol, medications, drugs or force to have sexual contact against someone’s will or with someone who has already refused.
An individual is unable to provide consent to engage in sexual activity when the individual: 1) is a minor (age 17 or under); 2) has a mental disorder or developmental or physical disability that renders her or him incapable of giving knowing consent; 3) is unconscious; or 4) is incapacitated from alcohol or other drugs, and this condition was known, or reasonably should have been known by the accused. “Incapacitated” means intoxicated to the point that the person is incapable of exercising the judgment required to decide whether to consent.
Campus Sexual Assault Resources
In an effort to reduce the risk of sexual assault occurring among its students, the University provides awareness and prevention programming. These outreach efforts are coordinated through the Counseling Center. For information, call 506-4210 or visit community.pepperdine.edu/counseling center/sexual assault resources. This site also includes additional resources and frequently asked questions about sexual assault.
If You Are Sexually Assaulted:
Immunity for Victims
Pepperdine encourages the reporting of sexual misconduct. Sometimes, victims are hesitant to report to college officials because they fear that they themselves may be charged with policy violations (such as visitation, underage drinking, or sexual activity) at the time of the incident. To encourage reporting, Pepperdine offers victims immunity from policy violations related to sexual misconduct.
Immunity for Good Samaritans
Pepperdine encourages students to offer assistance to other students in need, both on and off campus. When a student seeks medical assistance for a student in need, both parties will receive immunity from disciplinary action. This policy was created because students are sometimes hesitant to offer assistance to other students for fear that they themselves may be charged with policy violations (for example, an underage student who has been drinking might hesitate to get help from Public Safety or an RA for someone who may be suffering from alcohol poisoning, or might be hesitant to provide important information about a sexual assault incident).
The University prohibits retaliation against any individual who, in good faith, complains of discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct, or assists in providing information about a complaint of discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct. Any individual who engages in retaliatory conduct in violation of this policy is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from the University.
Reporting Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct and Retaliation
Students who feel that they have been subjected to discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct, or retaliation, should contact Al Sturgeon, Assistant Dean for Student Life, for assistance in making a report.
In addition, the University’s Title IX coordinators are available to also address questions or receive complaints concerning sexual misconduct:
Title IX Coordinator
For employees, guests, & contractors:
Edna Powell, Chief Business Officer
24255 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90263
The Title IX Coordinator is also responsible for the University's overall compliance with Title IX and oversees the Deputy Coordinators.
Title IX Deputy Coordinators
Tabatha Jones Jolivet, Associate Dean of Student Affairs, Seaver College
24255 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90263
Brian Barrio, Associate Director of Compliance for Athletics
24255 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90263
(310) 506 - 4150
Additional Reporting Information for Sexual Assault
Making the decision whether or not to report a sexual assault is the beginning of the process by which victims regain control over their lives. Though the reporting and judicial processes can be difficult, they are often worth the effort because victims feel empowered by bringing the assailant to justice. Reporting a sexual assault may also help to establish precedents that will aid other victims in the future.
Some students will choose to pursue criminal charges (i.e., through the police and criminal courts). Others will choose to pursue University judicial options, if the offender is a Pepperdine student. Some will choose both. Civil litigation is a third option that some victims choose. It is important that you understand your options as you make these decisions. Speaking confidentially with a counselor from the Pepperdine University Counseling Center or the Santa Monica Rape Treatment Center may be helpful as you decide how you would like to proceed.
For help in reporting the offense to local law enforcement, call the Department of Public Safety (506-4700). It is important to understand that reporting the incident does not obligate the victim to press criminal charges. To pursue disciplinary action through the University, please contact the Assistant Dean for Student Life Office (506-7695).
If the victim or another source identifies the alleged assailant, the Department of Public Safety will collaborate with local law enforcement in conducting an investigation. Support of the victim is the University’s highest priority in these matters; therefore, the victim’s wishes will always be taken into consideration. There are also community safety issues to be considered. Thus, if the offending student is perceived to be a potential threat to the victim or other students, the University may choose disciplinary action against the alleged offender regardless of whether the victim submits or wishes to pursue a complaint.
The University will make every effort to safeguard the identities of students who seek help and/or report sexual misconduct. While steps are taken to protect the privacy of victims, the University may need to investigate an incident and take action once an allegation is known, whether or not the student chooses to pursue a complaint.
Judicial Procedures in Sexual Misconduct Cases
Students accused of sexual misconduct will be subject to disciplinary proceedings, following the procedures set forth under the Disciplinary Sanctions section of this handbook (http://law.pepperdine.edu/academics/student-handbook/law/lawserv.htm), with the following exceptions:
The University’s actions are not dependent on the initiation or outcome of criminal charges. Disciplinary proceedings may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following civil or criminal proceedings.
If sexual misconduct is found, the University will take steps to prevent recurrence and correct its discriminatory effect on the complainant and others, if appropriate.
If the dean of student life or designee determines that continued close proximity or potential for unwanted interaction with the alleged offender might pose a threat to the victim, temporary action may occur. This action may include alternative living arrangements, exclusion of the alleged offender from various University properties or privileges, interim suspension of the accused pending a hearing, or other appropriate remedial actions.
Possession and/or use of all types of weapons is prohibited on University premises, including but not limited to, firearms, ammunition, air and spear guns, knives, martial arts weapons, bows and arrows, swords, paint/pellet guns, toys that replicate or could be mistaken for real guns, explosives of any type, and dangerous chemicals. All individuals in possession of self-defense items, including pepper spray, must comply with applicable California state law regarding training and permit to use.
Dishonesty in any form, including plagiarizing, cheating on assignments or examinations, knowingly furnishing false information on university records, forging, altering, or misusing documents, records, or identification cards, or failing to comply with written or verbal directives of duly authorized officials acting in the performance of assigned duties is strictly prohibited.
Pepperdine University is committed to the highest standards of scholarship, ethics, and Christian principles which strengthen lives for purpose, service, and leadership. Hazing is a violation of our core campus values, state and federal law, and basic human dignity. Therefore, Pepperdine is dedicated to a University community free of hazing.
Hazing is prohibited by state law and University policy. All students and members of campus organizations are required to fully comply with California's Code requirements on hazing and the University's regulations prohibiting hazing. California Penal Code section 245.6(b) (Matt's Law) provides a definition of hazing and prescribes misdemeanor and felony penalties. This would allow a person to bring a civil action for injury or damages against individuals who participate in the hazing or organizations who authorize, request, command, participate in, or ratify the hazing. "Hazing" means any method of initiation or pre-initiation into a student organization or student body, whether or not the organization or body is officially recognized by an educational institution, which is likely to cause serious bodily injury to any former, current, or prospective student of any school, community college, college, university, or other educational institution in this state. The term "hazing" does not include customary athletic events or school-sanctioned events.
Liability for hazing also extends to student organizations, and not just to those who directly participated in the hazing acts.
Pepperdine University prohibits any recognized student organization from engaging collectively or individually in hazing. Specific examples include, but are not limited to, any of the following:
Disciplinary action at the University level is considered independent from other court proceedings and may be instituted against a student also charged in civil or criminal courts based on the same facts that constitute the alleged violation of the Code of Conduct. For more information on hazing, visit stophazing.org.
Theft or vandalism, including acts of malicious mischief, as well as willful and wanton damage or destruction of property, is strictly prohibited.
You may use your portable computer during class for the purpose of taking notes or other purposes that are directly related to and supportive of your participation in class. However, the use of computers is a privilege and not a right and it may be withdrawn if you do not use it responsibly. Use of a computer in class for activities or purposes unrelated to the course causes a significant distraction for other students and severely disrupts the ability of those students to participate fully in class. Therefore, any improper usage of a computer during class is prohibited, including but not limited to, composing, reading, or sending e-mails; instant messaging; searching or browsing the Internet; playing games; or viewing movies.
As a matter of maintaining an atmosphere conducive to learning in the classroom and as a means of avoiding distraction to others, the following principles of good practice regarding the use of portable computers in the classroom are adopted:
Misusing University computers may be considered a felony under California Penal Code, Section 502, passed by the California State Legislature in 1979. Misusing computers includes illegally accessing computer facilities, accessing or copying files or programs without the owner's permission, using computer resources for unapproved administrative or instructional purposes, devising or executing any scheme to defraud or extort, obtaining money, property, or services with false or fraudulent intent, representations, or promises, or maliciously accessing, altering, deleting, damaging, or destroying any computer system, computer network, computer program, or data. Disciplinary action will be taken against any student found to have misused any university computer or computer program.
The exhibition or distribution of material or representations deemed to be obscene or contrary to the religious tenets of the university is strictly prohibited.
Solicitation or advertisements which have not been cleared in advance through School of Law administration are strictly prohibited.
Gambling is not allowed on campus or at university-sponsored activities.
Smoking is limited to unrestricted outdoor areas. Smoking is not permitted in any university building including apartment living rooms or common areas.