Location: Malibu, California
Federal Circuit: 9th Circuit
Pepperdine University has been given the speech code rating Exempt. Exempt institutions are private universities that express clearly and consistently that they believe in a set of values above the commitment of free speech. Read more here.
Speech Code Category: Other Speech Codes
Pepperdine is a Christian University. As such, all events, programs, and performances must be suitable for family audiences. All participants, whether internal (students) or external (vendors, artists, and producers), shall perform and/or conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent with the standards of the University. If participants fail to adhere to University standards disciplinary action may ensue.
Examples of these standards include:
- No alcoholic beverages or non-prescribed drugs are permitted on campus or at any student event.
- No unlawful or improper conduct or language is permitted during a performance or on campus. Examples of behavior and/or language inconsistent with the standards of the University include, but are not limited to: mosh pits, stage diving, crowd surfing, or any other actions that may create a dangerous situation; statements that disparage God, Jesus Christ, or religion; language that demeans and exploits women; explicit lyrics; and references to sex, alcohol, and narcotics/drugs. Under no circumstances will the Student/Performer/Group/Entertainer use profanity or tell obscene jokes or stories of any kind whatsoever during the performance. The determination of what is improper or obscene with respect to statements made by the Student/Performer/Group/Entertainer will be made in good faith by the University, and will be at the sole and absolute discretion of the University.
Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
In keeping with Pepperdine University‘s Christian mission and its heritage in Churches of Christ, all members of the University community are encouraged to respect the teachings of Jesus and historic, biblical Christianity. It is expected that all students will adhere to biblical teaching regarding moral and ethical practices. Engaging in or promoting conduct or lifestyles inconsistent with biblical teaching is not permitted. It is expected that students will maintain the highest standards of personal honor, morality, and integrity. The University reserves the right to refuse admittance to, or dismiss any person who violates these principles.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
Actions or communications that constitute disrespect, harassment, the use or threat of physical violence, intimidation, stalking or hate violence directed toward a member of the Pepperdine faculty, staff, student body, toward a visitor to the campus or toward a member of the community.
Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
It is a violation to exhibit, possess or distribute material or representations deemed to be obscene or contrary to the mission or the moral standards of the University, including, but not limited to, pornography. It is a violation to display alcohol containers or drug-related paraphernalia on University property.
Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression, Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
* The heritage of Churches of Christ has valued both free inquiry and an ecumenical spirit.
* This tradition–at its best–can sustain both openness to new and different ideas and the kind of diversity that Pepperdine seeks to nurture.
* This atmosphere, in which students are encouraged to explore faith and scholarship, is reflected in Pepperdine’s affirmation statement, in which it says, “Truth has nothing to fear from investigation.”
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
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.
January 30, 2013
Introducing Arun Smith, heroic censor. Last week at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, this student tore down a “free speech wall” display that a libertarian student group had set up on campus. Such displays usually take the form of a large, blank sheet of paper on which students are invited to write anything they like. Student groups sponsor the displays as a way of demonstrating that universities need not fear open expression. In a self-congratulatory letter,also posted publicly on Facebook, Smith explained that his vigilante censorship was a “moral imperative” because the wall created the potential for “hate speech,” and asserted that […]» Read More
October 10, 2014
Disappointingly, in just the past two weeks FIRE has learned from the Student Press Law Center’s (SPLC’s) website about three incidents of people stealing student newspapers on college campuses in apparent attempts to censor specific stories. In alarmingly short order, hundreds of copies of the student newspapers at Pepperdine University, Iowa State University, and Elmhurst College in Illinois were stolen. The responsible parties at Elmhurst, at least, will be punished. SPLC reports that approximately 500 copies of the September 25 issue of the Pepperdine Graphic—about a quarter of those distributed—disappeared from newsstands on Pepperdine’s campus. According to SPLC, those who […]» Read More
September 12, 2012
by Mike Riggs Reason Online Pepperdine University’s Statement of Academic Freedom states that “a faculty member should consider it a basic duty to encourage freedom of inquiry in peers and in students.” If that’s truly the case, the school has some explaining to do as to why it denied a political science major the opportunity to intern with the Marijuana Policy Project. According to MPP: Last week, the deans of Seaver College internship program at Pepperdine University officially refused to approve the application of sophomore political science major Victoria Stanzione to intern at the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), a national non-profit […]» Read More
September 17, 2010
My Constitution Day started out great. I watched the Schoolhouse Rock “Preamble” song a few times to get into the Constitutional spirit (until I thought Peter would send a cease-and-desist letter from his office next door). The wise and catchy Schoolhouse Rock gang tells us the brief history of the Constitution. But the real story lies in how we–The People–interpret the founders’ words today. Their aspiration to a more perfect union rings a little hollow when I read headlines like this morning’s: Student tears down “Free Speech Wall.” Just like that, my buoyant mood crashed, Hindenburg-style, before I had finished my […]» Read More