Student Life Policies
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. Engaging in or promoting conduct or lifestyles inconsistent with traditional Christian values is not acceptable. 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 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, at any time, to adopt additional policies or to modify existing ones as needs may dictate.
The Law Student's Relationship to the Profession
Students at Pepperdine University Caruso 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.
All students of the Caruso School of Law owe a continuing duty to report in writing to the Dean of Students any conviction, guilty plea or plea of nolo contendere (no contest to the charge), except for a minor traffic violation. 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 contendere to an offense other than a minor traffic violation, or who fails to notify the Caruso School of Law of a conviction or plea as described above.
Alcohol and Drugs
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 alcoholic containers is prohibited on university property, regardless of a student's age. Intoxication is also prohibited. The use, possession, distribution, or sale of an illegal or potentially harmful drug or drug-related paraphernalia is strictly prohibited. Anyone involved in the sale of drugs will be dismissed immediately.
Sexual Misconduct Policy
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).
For the full Sexual Misconduct Policy, including information regarding how to report sexual misconduct, available resources, and procedures applicable to adjudicating sexual misconduct claims, please click here.
Reporting a Threat/Campus Safety App
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 Human Resources. In the event you would like to submit a report during non-business hours, the Department of Public Safety is open every day, 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.
LiveSafe is a campus safety smartphone application that makes it easier than ever for the Pepperdine community to connect with Public Safety and look out for each other. When submitting a tip, it is possible to attach a photo, video clip, or audio clip, with the option to report anonymously. In emergency or non-emergency situations, users can chat with Public Safety in real time within the app. If users are in an unfamiliar location, SafeMap will help them get their bearings and learn more about the resources near their location. It is possible to use the SafeRide feature to request a medical or security escort on the Malibu campus or a ride back to the Malibu campus from any location in the Los Angeles metro area. The SafeWalk feature allows users to provide a virtual security escort for friends and loved ones to make sure they reach their destination safely. Users also can immediately access critical information resources and emergency procedures anytime, anywhere. Plus, all of these features function internationally, allowing the app to match the University's global footprint. The app is free and available to all members of the Pepperdine community: students, faculty, staff, parents, visitors, family members, and friends. For more information and details regarding how to sign up, please visit https://emergency.pepperdine.edu/livesafe.
For convenience, contact information appears below:
Department of Public Safety (310) 506-4442
Seaver College Dean of Students Office (310) 506-4472
Caruso School of Law Dean's Office (310) 506-4621
Caruso School of Law Dean of Students' Office (310) 506-7204 and (310) 506-4146
GSBM Dean's Office (310) 568-5689
GSEP Dean's Office (310) 568-5615
SPP Dean's Office (310) 506-7490
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 Caruso 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 Caruso School of Law are expected to avoid such conduct themselves and the encouraging of it in others.
Discrimination and Harassment Policy
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). Review the full policy here.
Prohibited Items on University Premises
Possession and/or use of any type of weapon 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. For the purpose of Matt's Law, "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 also prohibits any recognized student organization from engaging collectively or individually in hazing. Examples of activities that the University will consider to be hazing include, but are not limited to, any of the following:
- Any activity that is mandatory for new members only, and is not educational in nature (e.g., performing personal chores or errands).
- Such activities as new member-only scavenger hunts, new member ditches, and the like.
- Compelling a person or group to remain at a certain place or transporting a person or group anywhere without their consent (road trips, kidnaps, etc.).
- Expecting students to do anything exclusively "for the fun or entertainment of the members."
- All forms of physical activity not a part of an organized athletic contest or not specifically directed toward constructive work.
- Conducting activities that prohibit adequate time for study.
- Depriving students of sufficient sleep (6 hours per day minimum), decent and edible meals, or access to means of maintaining bodily cleanliness.
- Forcing, coercing or permitting students to eat or drink foreign or unusual substances such as raw meat, salt water, onions, etc.
- Applying foreign substances to the body, branding, tattooing, piercing, or other bodily alteration.
- Carrying any items (shields, paddles, bricks, etc.) that serve no constructive purpose or that are designed to punish or embarrass the carrier.
- Forcing, or allowing, students to dress in any unusual or awkward fashion. Nudity at any time.
- Depriving students of "sense awareness", ( sight, sound, etc.), which may cause mental and/or physical stress.
- Misleading students in an effort to convince them that they will not attain full membership status, that they will be hurt during an initiation ceremony, or any other activity that would cause extreme mental stress.
- Subjecting a person or group of people to verbal harassment.
- Conducting "interrogations" or any other non-constructive questioning.
- Disallowing students to talk for an extended period of time.
- Forcing students to make monetary payments or incur extra expenses not included in general membership dues.
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 and Vandalism
Theft or vandalism, including acts of malicious mischief, as well as willful and wanton damage or destruction of property, is strictly prohibited.
Portable Computer Usage in the Classroom
Subject to the discretion of individual professors, 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:
- Only portable or notebook computers may be used in the classroom. The use of modems or printers in the classroom is prohibited.
- In purchasing portable computers, students should make sure that the keyboard is one which does not "click" when the keys are depressed. If other students complain, computers which make excessive noise may be excluded from the classroom.
- The use of power cords in aisles of the classroom is prohibited. Students should purchase an extra battery so that power can be replaced if the installed battery is depleted.
- Most classrooms are equipped with power outlets for each seat. Students are encouraged to use these outlets for their computers. Students should purchase an extra battery so that power can be replaced if the installed battery is depleted.
- Computers should be set so that no audible signal is heard (e.g., when the battery is low).
- Software should be installed so that there is no sound when the software is "booted up" or used.
- In any situation in which the use of a computer or computers causes a disruption in the classroom, the professor may require that such usage be discontinued.
Misusing University computers may be considered a felony under California Penal Code, Section 502. 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 up to and including dismissal 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.
Soliciting or Advertising
Solicitation or advertisements which have not been cleared in advance through Caruso School of Law administration are strictly prohibited.
Gambling is not allowed on campus or at university-sponsored activities.
All Pepperdine University campuses are smoke-free at all times and smoking is strictly prohibited, with the exception of any limited, designated areas where smoking may be permitted for some period while moving toward the goal of a 100% smoke-free campus. This prohibition includes but is not limited to the interior of University facilities, outdoor areas, and undeveloped property, as well as in any vehicle owned, leased, or operated by the University. Also, the sale, distribution, advertisement of tobacco products, or sponsorship by tobacco companies is prohibited anywhere on campus, at University-sponsored events, or in publications produced by the University. This policy applies to all persons on a Pepperdine University campus.
We at Pepperdine University acknowledge and respect the fact that certain individuals experience extreme difficulty in ceasing the habit of smoking. Consistent with our University mission and identity, we must avoid alienating community members, and treat those who smoke with respect, dignity, and care as we seek to implement and enforce this policy.
Increased subsidized cessation programs will be made available to faculty, staff, and students. The University encourages participation in these programs. For more information, employees should call Human Resources, and students should call their dean's office.
All members of the University community share in the responsibility of adhering to and enforcing this policy. The success of this policy depends upon the thoughtfulness, consideration, and cooperation of those who smoke and those who do not. Informational rather than punitive enforcement is the intent of this policy. However, repeated violations of the smoking policy, such as smoking in an area other than at a designated smoking location, may result in intervention by the Department of Public Safety, discipline by the supervisor in the case of an employee, or discipline by the applicable dean's office in the case of a student.
Working as a 1L
Working during the first year of law school is strongly discouraged, but if there is an extraordinary circumstance, first-year students should speak with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs before accepting either a paid or voluntary commitment.
Students and guests are not permitted to have pets in the residence halls. Students with disabilities should contact the Office of Student Accessibility for possible exceptions to this policy.