Latest Event Updates

Mountain Lion Sighting on the Malibu Campus

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A resident reported a mountain lion sighting to Public Safety this evening at 8:09 PM. The lion was spotted on the driveway leading up to Tiner Court and was last seen walking on the hillside along Tiner Court/President’s Drive toward the Student Assistance Center (SAC). Public Safety officers searched the indicated area but did not locate the animal. The sighting was reported to the local sheriff’s department and the Department of Fish and Wildlife. 

Pepperdine officials share confirmed mountain lion sightings near the Malibu campus to ensure the University community is informed of, but not alarmed by, the wildlife with whom we share the Santa Monica Mountains. Pepperdine officials place the highest priority on the safety of our University community and remain in close communication with National Parks Service biologists, who have studied mountain lion behavior in the Santa Monica Mountains for many years. 

It is not uncommon to see a mountain lion or other animals on campus, given our location. It is important all members of the Pepperdine community remain vigilant and follow best practices. 

Please remember:

  • Do not hike, bike, or jog alone, especially from dusk until dawn when mountain lions are most active.
  • Remember Public Safety security escorts are available on the Malibu campus 24/7 by calling Public Safety Dispatch at 310.506.4442.
  • If you see a mountain lion on or near the Malibu campus, please report the incident to Public Safety at 310.506.4441.
    • If safe to do so, please take a picture and/or video and send it to Public Safety via the LiveSafe app.

As a reminder, if you encounter a mountain lion:

  • Respect the animal.
  • Maintain eye contact and move away slowly.
  • Do NOT run. Running will trigger the mountain lion’s instinct to chase you.
  • Appear as large, loud, and powerful as possible.
  • If there are small children or pets present, pick them up immediately. Additionally do NOT leave them unattended outside.
  • Do not approach the mountain lion; leave space for the cat to escape.
  • In the unlikely event of an attack, fight back. Do not fall to the ground or roll into the fetal position.

Power Outage Advisory: Rolling Blackout Notice for Malibu and Calabasas Campuses

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Pepperdine has learned the Malibu and Calabasas campuses are on a list of locations that may experience rolling blackouts this week due to excess demand in the wake of the heat wave. Rolling blackouts are short power outages to reduce strain on the electrical grid. While we have asked our electrical provider, Southern California Edison, to give as much advance notice as possible for these potential outages, we may not receive any warning. Rolling blackouts typically last from a few minutes up to about an hour or more for each location. 

While power outages may occur at any time due to a variety of causes, with courses currently online and participation dependent on power and internet connections, we are providing this information to allow you to prepare for a potential interruption to classes. Professors and students may arrange, class by class, a protocol by which they will operate in the event of an outage. However, if no individual plan has been made, the University’s standard is to attempt to reconnect for up to 15 minutes after the start of a power outage. If you cannot reconnect after 15 minutes:

  • Professors unable to teach a course because of a power outage should consider the class meeting canceled and contact affected students when feasible to explain the situation.
  • Students unable to reconnect to attend a course because of a power outage should contact their professor when feasible to explain the situation. This would be considered an excused absence due to the power outage.  

If University campuses are impacted, updates will be posted on Pepperdine’s Emergency Information Page. Contact the University’s Emergency Services at 310.506.4442 or with any questions. 

A Message from President Gash: Online Instruction for Fall Semester

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Since shifting to remote instruction in mid-March, Pepperdine leadership has been carefully monitoring the activity of COVID-19 and closely evaluating the evolving governmental guidance with a goal to reopen our campuses for in-person instruction as soon as it was safe for our Pepperdine community. Although it is still forthcoming, Governor Newsom’s long-awaited guidance for colleges and universities is expected to closely mirror the recently issued restrictions imposed last week for California’s public and private K-12 schools. This guidance, when applied to California’s four-stage reopening plan, effectively prohibits in-person instruction beginning in the fall for much of California, including in Los Angeles County.

This leaves uncertainty for colleges and universities, but little confidence that campuses will be allowed to reopen for the start of the fall term with in-person instruction in a way that reflects Pepperdine’s standards of excellence.

Online Instruction for the Fall Semester

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. 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.

Therefore, even while we have been vigorously preparing for students to return to our campuses safely, we have also been preparing aggressively to provide a robust and excellent online educational experience just in case circumstances dictated that campuses could not reopen this fall. To that end, our faculty have also spent the summer preparing to provide world-class academic instruction online. Consequently, online classes will begin on the previously published schedules for each school.

On-Campus Housing

Our ability to house students on campus is also directly impacted by state and county restrictions. We are not presently permitted to reopen our Malibu campus for normal residential life. However, we expect to receive permission soon to house students who can demonstrate a compelling hardship which necessitates residing in on-campus housing this fall. The deans of each school will be outlining, in subsequent communications, the application process for seeking a housing hardship exemption.

In the event the government’s guidance changes during the semester, we may revisit our options for potentially broadening our on-campus housing availability.

Pepperdine Restoration Plan 

As we begin to return students with hardships to on-campus living, and if and when a broader return to campus can occur, our extensive summer planning efforts have positioned us to be fully prepared. Our Pepperdine Restoration Plan is complete and ready for implementation. We have instituted robust protocols to make our campuses safe environments. These protocols required significant investments in testing equipment, tracing resources, sanitation supplies and schedules, technology enhancements in our classrooms, plexiglass protection, and extensive changes and additions to our campuses to accommodate social distancing.

Looking Ahead

We have not tried in this communication to answer all of your specific questions because many of the detailed implications of this decision are school-specific. You can expect, therefore, to receive a detailed communication within the next 24 to 48 hours from the dean of your school that will specifically address the issues of housing, registration, schedules, and other important information. Pepperdine faculty and staff should expect a detailed communication from Human Resources this week.

Thank you for working together with us to make this fall a memorable and meaningful semester despite our challenging times. Pepperdine is an uncommonly strong community and we are equal to the task of taking on these challenges together and advancing our high calling as leaders in higher education.

Important COVID-19 Community Update – July 17

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Pepperdine’s highest priority is to preserve and protect the health, safety, and well-being of every current and future member of Pepperdine University while keeping our commitment to delivering an exceptional educational experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. Consequently, we continue to closely monitor all guidance issued by local, state, and federal agencies. The purpose of this communication is to inform our Pepperdine community about a significant shift in California’s guidance for educational institutions released today by California governor Gavin Newsom that may impact the start of our fall semester.

Governor Newsom Update

At a news conference this afternoon, Governor Newsom provided guidance for K-12 schools that casts serious doubt on the ability of the vast majority of these schools to begin in person instruction in August. And while this guidance was not specifically directed at colleges and universities, it provides clear evidence the state is taking an increasingly aggressive approach to addressing the spread of COVID-19. During this news conference, Governor Newsom indicated that further guidance for colleges and universities, which was expected to be delivered no later than today, will be issued next week for all California colleges and universities.

Pepperdine’s Response

Pepperdine’s decision-making framework alluded to above remains consistent, and will remain consistent, as we adapt to the fluctuating environment caused by the virus’ unpredictable course. We understand that faculty, staff, students, and their families will be impacted by any revised decisions the University may be compelled to make about in-person instruction and on-campus housing for the fall term.  Pepperdine is committed to keeping the community informed as new developments occur.

In the meantime, students and their families are advised to defer the purchase of travel and lodging and making off-campus housing arrangements until Pepperdine, after receiving and evaluating Governor Newsom’s directives, provides further guidance to our community. For those seeking on-campus housing this fall, the University will suspend its current housing deadline until further notice. Additionally, the information regarding move-in date and housing assignments for new students that was expected to be sent out today will be delayed.  

Pepperdine Community Case Update

The University was notified this week of five new confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the Pepperdine community, including three staff members, a Graziadio student, and a GSEP student. All were reported to the Student Health Center and investigated through the University’s contact tracing protocols. Close contacts were notified. 

One of the staff members is a Mail Services employee who last reported to the Malibu campus on July 10. Although this staff member’s risk of spreading the virus while in the mailroom was low, and although no close contacts were identified for this case, the University is taking extra precautions and has closed the mailroom for today through Monday to allow for a deep cleaning and disinfection of the space. During this time, Mail Services will not be operating. If you have any questions related to an expected delivery or need for service, please contact Stan Jones, manager of mail and automation services, at 310.506.4293.

Although the CDC states it is unlikely the virus will spread from mail or packaging, the University has implemented additional precautionary measures. Additional details are available on the Mail Services Community page.

The University will continue to keep the community informed on COVID-19 developments as new information becomes available. The latest updates can be found on the University’s COVID-19 website and Emergency Information Page. For additional questions, please contact the COVID-19 Information Line at or 310.506.8111.