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. Furthermore, Pepperdine is deeply committed to diversity and inclusion. 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). To read more from our discrimination and harassment student policy click here. To get involved with diversity and inclusion initiatives, check out the Office of Intercultural Affairs.
Defining Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation
The University encourages students to immediately bring any concerning behavior to the University's attention even if such behavior does not constitute discrimination, harassment, or retaliation as defined below.
Discrimination: 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: 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.
Retaliation: Retaliation is any form of sanction or adverse treatment against a person because that person has asserted a good faith complaint of discrimination or harassment, or assists in providing information regarding a complaint of discrimination or harassment. Retaliation may consist of intentional disparagement, harassment, negative remarks, or other treatment that creates a hostile environment.
Choose a strategy to Step UP!
Reduce the tension: Form a goal based on the source of bias: Before addressing the bias more explicitly, you can try to reduce the tension at the start:
- To lighten the mood, tell the person a funny story about something unrelated.
- Compliment the person or share something you have in common with him/her.
- Ask the person to talk positively about him/herself.
- Research indicates that such strategies can start to reduce the biases that people hold and will make them more open minded about discussing the issues with you.
Individuation approaches: Try to get the person to see others as individuals rather than as members of a disliked group:
- Highlight things about a targeted group's member that are different from most people's perception.
- Volunteer information about a targeted group's member so that the person could get to know them as an individual.
Recategorization or Common Identity approaches: Try to get others to see that the targeted group is similar to others and shares similar goals:
- Highlight traits and interests that the person and the targeted group share in common.
- Discuss issues that affect both the person and the targeted group to create perception of a "common enemy" and to view the targeted group in terms of a greater common group.
- Think of other ways to get the person to see the situation from a different perspective.
Confrontational approaches: You can directly address the bias by making the individuals aware of how their statement represents a bias or is inconsistent with their egalitarian values. WARNING: Confrontation can make the biased person angry and may cause him or her to lash out or seek revenge. This approach should RARELY be used.
- Identify a statement as a potential bias.
- Ask the individuals if they value diversity and then remind them of ways in which they might unfairly stereotype others.
- Ask the persons if they believe that all people should be treated equally and then point out how their views contradict these values.
- Ask: Did you really mean what you just said? (Also see Action Steps listed below).
Reporting Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation
We encourage students who have been subjected to discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation, to contact the dean of their school.
Confidential Reporting Options
Pepperdine Student Counseling Center
University Chaplain Sara Barton
Wave Tip line
For any campus emergency, call 310.506.4441.
Coming to Terms with Your Own Biases
- Be respectful of all individuals and their viewpoints.
- Listen to what individuals' lives are like and the experiences they've had in the world.
- Accept that you are responsible for any of your negative reactions.
- Don't rush the process of trying to understand a person's experiences or identity.
- Don't criticize people for being different.
- Don't force your values on others.
- Develop trust and openness and allow people to be who they are without pressure or judgment.
- Note: It is inconsistent to suffer the consequences and want to fight prejudice from a race/class/ gender standpoint but then to practice it yourself against any others.
Be Prepared to Intervene
- Be Ready – You know at some point you will hear or see something that is inappropriate or discriminatory. Think of yourself as the one to Step UP!, prepare yourself for it and know what you will say. "Why do you say that?" or "Do you really mean what you just said?"
- Identify the Behavior – Point out someone's behavior to help them hear what they are really saying. "So, what I hear you saying is that all student-athletes don't care about academics?"
- Appeal to Principles – Call on a person's higher principles. "I've always thought you were fair-minded. It shocks me to hear you say something so biased."
- Set Limits: Draw a Line – You can't control others but you can make others aware of what you will not tolerate. "Don't tell racist jokes or use that language in my presence anymore. If you do, I will leave." Follow through.
- Find an Ally/Be an Ally – Seek out like-minded people and build strength in numbers. Adapted from Tolerance.org (n.d.). A web project of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
- Understanding Prejudice – www.understandingprejudice.org
- Teaching Tolerance – www.tolerance.org
- Speak Up- Responding to Everyday Bigotry- www.tolerance.org/publication/speak
- Project Implicit – https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit
The University of Arizona C.A.T.S. Life Skills Program, along with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and national leading experts, has developed Step UP! Be a Leader, Make a Difference.