Monday, January 28, 2008

Alumna questions SGA resolution

By Airan Scruby

SGA's recent resolution to ban from Pepperdine's internet server struck a blow against the students who elected SGA's members, and it demonstrates once again that the organization is not looking out for the rights and needs of their constituents. Rather, they keep up appearances for an image-conscious few. By ignoring the ramifications of such a decision on student speech and ability to gather information on campus, SGA is stealing the free will of the students who elected its members.

After hearing about the decision, I read every post on over the past week. Most were immature, petty and sex-obsessed. But that doesn't change that students are expressing something what they think. While hurtful comments without a reason are indefensible, it does not change the writer's right to make them.

I am currently working as a reporter at the Whittier Daily News, a medium-sized paper based in the San Gabriel Valley, and my job is to cover a city, Pico Rivera. Several Web sites exist as "watch dogs" for the community, where people can anonymously post their thoughts about local politics. Often, posts are mean-spirited and not based in fact. Some call the morality of city leaders into question, while others accuse them of illegal activities.

Ugly things are said on those Web sites, but they represent a beautiful thing: freedom to speak your mind, regardless of how crazy or mean you are when you do so. And sometimes, those Web sites are used by reasonable people who start intelligent debate about what should be done in Pico Rivera. Reporters at the newspaper often check those sites and follow up by investigating the claims made on them. Occasionally, these watch dogs help to uncover corruption in their community.

SGA could have made the decision to use as a forum for debate and discussion. They had the opportunity to encourage students to elevate the discourse there, and to use the site to point out the strengths and weaknesses of the university. Student journalists at Pepperdine, at the Graphic and Newswaves, could have followed up on claims and questions raised there, improving the flow of information for students.

Instead, the decision has been made to stifle student freedom and to squander an opportunity to give this cloud a silver lining.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Resolution SGA passed last night banning


SGA Support for a Ban of

1. Whereas the website “” is having a detrimental effect upon the Pepperdine community and endangering the emotional welfare of many students, and,

2. Whereas, Pepperdine University has the capability to selectively block this website from its internet network, and,

3. Whereas, restricting access to this website would cause a significant decrease in the amount of traffic the website receives from Pepperdine, and,

4. Whereas, the longer the situation is allowed to persist, the greater will be likelihood that someone will be seriously emotionally traumatized by this website, and,

5. Be it hereby resolved that, be blocked from the Pepperdine internet network, and

6. Be it further resolved that, SGA send official letters of support for this action to Dean Davis, President Benton, and the General Council.

Authored by: Austin Maness, VP of Administration
Seconded by: Clint Harp, Executive Vice-President

The bad arguments to ban

I heard a lot of weird arguments last night for why this Web site should or should not be banned. There was a lot of talk about what we should do as a college community and as a Christian community.

Here are the top 5 bad reasons I heard last night to ban access to

5. If something was posted anonymously on the Freedom wall it would be removed.

4. The students posting on this site will not be persuaded by an advertising campaign so why bother.

3. Not banning the site is like watching a wildfire.

2. It is SGA's job to protect students, and protect students from lawsuits.

1. If it is censorship, so be it.

Lets talk about

I was one of about half a dozen students that attended the SGA meeting last night to discuss a resolution to ban access to the Web site from Pepperdine's campus. I was glad to see that the senators spent some time debating the topic before just voting to pass the resolution.

I am very disappointed that SGA had a knee-jerk reaction to try and censor the students they represent instead of use the thousands of student dollars and other resources at their disposal to actually attempt to solve this problem.

The bottom line here is that I do not want any group of students or administrators deciding for me or anyone else what Web site I should not be allowed to view. I did not vote for any member of SGA so they could attempt to govern students actions.

Asking the administration for censorship is dangerous and short sighted. The ban will not solve any problems. These are not posts being written by me as an editor at the Graphic, these posts are being written by you guys, your roommates, Greek brothers and sisters and people with too much time on their hands.

No one supports or agrees with whats happening on the Web site. SGA has formed a subcommittee that will hopefully have an actual dialogue with students about these issues instead of trying to govern student actions.

Top Graphic Stories

Pick up your copy of the Graphic on newsstands around campus today, or read stories on the Online Graphic.

Here are my picks for the top 3 stories from this issue:

1. SGA votes to ban Web site

2. Sports editor Greg Barnett spends 10 minutes with the new basketball coach.

3. Florence students kick it with soccer team

Back to blogging

It's been a few months since this blog has been active. Please continue to check back because there are more posts on the way.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Pepperdine participates in National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week

Check out this schedule of events:

Tuesday, November 13:

Wednesday, November 14:

  • Urban Reality Tour, 9AM-6PM (meet at Special Programs)*
  • Hunger Banquet and end of 24 Hour Fast, 8:30PM (Cafeteria)

Thursday, November 15:

  • Convocation Program: "Where are the true Christians" 7PM (Chapel)

Saturday, November 17:

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Seniors: Make sure to fill out and turn in Intent to Graduate forms

Any seniors planning on graduating in Spring, make sure you fill out and turn in an intent to graduate for to OneStop by the Nov. 30 deadline.

Download and complete the form.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Pepperdine will test new emergency siren and notification system

Here's an e-mail sent from Pepperdine's Public Relations Office regarding an audible test scheduled for this Wednesday.

"Pepperdine University’s emergency operations team is working with a vendor to install an emergency siren and notification system on the Malibu campus. The system will be used to alert the community of a local emergency. Two audible tests are scheduled to take place Wednesday, November 7, 2007 at approximately 10:50 a.m. and 11:20 a.m. Each test will take approximately 10 minutes. During each test you may hear the sound of a siren as well as a voice giving mock instructions regarding the test."

'Roadside' video

Check out this video.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Pepperdine's discount no more at Sharkys

The Sharky's in Calabasas no longer offers a Pepperdine student discount. Instead the discount is being replaced with a rewards card that will eventually end in free food. I prefer the discount from showing my Pepperdine ID.

Where are some other places to get some good discounts?

- Chris

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

News Buf and Online Graphic are recongnized by blogosphere for Pepperdine fire coverage

Fire coverage dies down

Pepperdine university unscathedI’m exhausted and I never even went out into the field. I’ve been working since Saturday night, and my Sunday, Monday and Tuesday night shifts were dominated by fire coverage. My headache hasn’t even gone away yet.

I wanted to point out the News Buf blog, by Pepperdine University Graphic reporter Chris Segal.

Read More >>>

Graphic Fire Special Issue

While the wild fires were burning a group of editors from the Graphic produced this special section. To read more coverage and to see the photos in color check out on the Online Graphic.

Pepperdine President Andrew K. Benton's e-mail to Alumni about Malibu Fire

From: President Benton []
Sent: Mon 10/29/2007 10:54 PM
To: *********
Subject: California Fires and the Pepperdine Community

Dear *****:

I have received many calls from Pepperdine University alumni inquiring about the well-being of our campus in the wake of the devastating fires that struck Southern California. I am grateful to be able to share with you that all of our campuses in Los Angeles and Orange counties are safe and secure.

Property damage at our Malibu campus was limited to a portion of a pool shack near the Baxter Drive swimming pool and three cars parked in the Theme Tower lot. The rest is merely landscaping. After missing two days of classes due to the closure of roads leading to and through Malibu, our students, faculty, and staff returned to the daily routines of higher education which, in less dramatic times, we might be tempted to take for granted. I am profoundly grateful to my administrative colleagues who prepared us so well; to the students, faculty, staff, and even vendors who responded so remarkably; and to the fire and law enforcement personnel who worked all hours, literally, to protect us so ably.

Due to Pepperdine's state-of-the-art emergency planning, instantaneous messages were sent to students, faculty, and staff, providing hour-by-hour updates on the status of the campus, roadways, and best practices for personal safety. We know our campuses well and we know how the physical plant will respond to extreme conditions.

The extended firebreaks around the Malibu campus worked precisely as intended. Although our planning historically has focused on earthquakes, heavy rain, and fire, we also think about other kinds of incidents that have befallen America's campuses and cities in recent years. We have established detailed plans for those contingencies as well.

Unfortunately, some members of the Pepperdine community who live off campus did suffer loss. The apartments of students Erin Chinen, Becca Thompson, [Editors Note: Becca Patterson's apartment was damaged] and Kailey Fullerton were damaged, and alumnus Dane Nielsen and faculty members Sonia Sorrell and Connie and Bernard James lost their homes.

Crises, in their own unique ways, do enable us with opportunities to serve. In that regard, our Malibu campus became a command center and a place to rest for Los Angeles County firefighters, while our on-campus reservoir provided water for aerial water drops. Pepperdine has also served as a meeting place for members of Malibu Presbyterian Church to gather in the aftermath of their church facilities burning to the ground.

Our prayers and support are with all of our students, faculty, staff, and neighbors as they relocate or make plans to rebuild. Wherever you may live, we encourage you to join us in serving those throughout Southern California who are in need. If you are aware of members of the Pepperdine community who have been affected, we particularly ask that you provide us with details so that our wide network of alumni and friends can provide prayerful support.

In recent days I have heard inspiring accounts of Pepperdine people who have volunteered their homes, their time, and their labor to help others. We have seen everyday heroes working quietly, selflessly among us -- which is, in truth, precisely what we have come to expect from this marvelous University community, committed to strengthening lives for purpose, service, and leadership.

In closing, I would ask that you take a moment to write or e-mail me about those heroes -- especially those connected to Pepperdine University -- whom you have witnessed in action. I would enjoy the opportunity to hear your stories and share them with others.


Andrew K. Benton

Pepperdine students in the news

If you or any students you know where quoted in the media regarding the fire please let me know so I can compile a list of links and quotes.

- Chris

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Editor & Publisher does story on Online Graphic

Pepperdine Student Paper's Web Site Shut Down Due to Wildfire -- Now It's Back By Joe Strupp Published: October 23, 2007 4:05 PM ET NEW YORK When the wildfires raging throughout Southern California neared Pepperdine University in Malibu on Sunday, campus officials shut down servers used by all campus Web sites. Unfortunately, that included the Web site of Graphic, the student newspaper, creating a four-hour disruption when the paper was in the midst of covering the raging fire's impact on students, many of whom were being evacuated and seeking information about university events. "They just decided to do it, but they didn’t take into account that it would affect the newspaper Web site," said Editor-In-Chief Shannon Kelly. "They said they didn't do it on purpose."

Read More >>>

Dr. Michael Casey passed after battling cancer

News Editor

Dr. Michael Casey, Pepperdine professor of communication, passed away Monday night surrounded by family at Kaiser Hospital in Woodland Hills after a battle with cancer. He was 53.

Casey, who was initially diagnosed with cancer in April of 2006, served as the Carl P. Miller Chair of Communication and was in the middle of his 21st year of teaching at Pepperdine.

Read More >>>

Monday, October 22, 2007

'Canyon Fire' Brushes Pepperdine Photos

New Malibu 'Canyon Fire' Photos

New Malibu photos from 'Canyon Fire'

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Malibu Times coverage of fire ends on a sweet note

Winds and anxieties seemed to have died down by the evening.

"There is ash still raining in the immediate vicinity, but the wind is not as strong as had been," said JB Bre, a member of Pepperdine's IT department who assisted the emergency response program.

Students received flashlights for cyclical blackouts and rested in the assurance that classes are cancelled tomorrow.

Read More >>>

Malibu Fire News

For fire updates, photos and video checkout this Web site.

Malibu 'Canyon Fire' video

Malibu fire

Video By: Star staff
10/21/07: A brushfire burning in the hills above Malibu has destroyed several homes and businesses in area.

Video by Anthony Plascencia, Chris Segal and John Scheibe

Students return to dorms, Monday classes cancelled

Editor In Chief

The Malibu fire is still zero percent contained and has burned more than 2000 acres, but students and staff have been told to return to their on-campus residences by Pepperdine’s emergency response team, according to the Emergency Operations Committee’s (EOC) associate vice president Rick Gibson.

Three homes and two commercial buildings have been confirmed destroyed and at least nine other residences have been damaged.

The structural loses include Malibu Presbyterian Church and Pepperdine faculty member, Connie James' house, which is close to the church. Flames also destroyed Malibu's famous Passion castle.

Read More >>>

Pepperdine temporarily shutsdown Online Graphic

The Graphic Web site was shut down for more than two hours by the Pepperdine EOC while covering the fire this afternoon.

“The committee decided that with an emergency of this magnitude, it was necessary to put the University message upfront,” Gibson said.

The EOC has since allowed online coverage to resume.