Pepperdine University, which is known to have furiously opposed granting recognition to a gay-straight alliance of students called Reach OUT, last year, is reported to have officially recognized the LGBT Legal Society. According to Forbes, Thomas J. Stipanowich, the Academic Director of the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University School of Law reported: “The mission statement in … constitution states” “LGBT Legal Society exists for the limited purposes of discussing LGBT-related legal issues and networking for legal employment or professional development.”
This is a historic step by the Pepperdine University by which it comes to realize the existence of LGBT people on earth, while the rest of the world has been aware of the fact for centuries. But the law school does deserve Kudos since they operate under the conservative ethos of the Church of Christ. After all, many priests can rarely see beyond the altar, or altar boys…
The decision has been spurred by a movement on change.org asking the University to provide official group recognition and inclusivity towards LGBT students. Also, there is a Facebook Pepperdine boycott page, where the organizers have reported, the boycott on the School of Law and Straus Institute at Pepperdine University would be lifted.
Pepperdine University kept negotiating with the “unrecognized gay-straight alliance” ReachOUT for four years before refusing to provide them recognition last year. The current situation at Pepperdine University, as mentioned by ReachOUT is that LGBT students “fear rejection from their peers as well as the risk of losing their scholarships and leadership opportunities.”
The Change.org petition mentioned: “Until now, the university’s policies have created an atmosphere of silence and anxiety that alienates not only the LGBT student population but also anyone concerned for their well-being. The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) likewise expressed unease in its 2011 accreditation report that Pepperdine’s “climate of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’” prevents it from appearing “safe for open discourse.”
People hope that this official recognition of LGBT Legal Association for learning and discussion purposes may lead to the official recognition of LGBT student communities in the university.