MALIBU, CA — Pepperdine University announced Thursday that it would hold all classes online for the fall 2020 semester due to the coronavirus statement.
“This was not the decision we had hoped or planned to make,” President Jim Gash said in a statement. “Our faculty and staff and regents have worked tirelessly throughout the summer to prepare us for safe in-person instruction and on-campus housing.”
Gash said that the decision is the result of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s guidance for colleges and universities that will effectively prohibit in-person instruction in this fall for much of California. Though the university is not allowed to house students at its Malibu campus, Gash said he expects the university will receive permission to house students with a demonstrated need.
On July 14, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District announced that after much debate, it would begin the fall 2020 year with only distance learning.
Gash said that the Pepperdine faculty have spent the summer preparing to provide “world-class academic instruction online.”
The move is bound to upset many parents who feel that distance learning is an insufficient substitute to on-campus instruction. In June, parent Joseph Pinzon filed a class-action lawsuitagainst the university alleging that despite sending his son home and closing the Malibu campus, Pepperdine continues to charge full tuition, fees and room and board.
The suit further alleges that the online learning experience is not worth the tuition charged, and seeks reimbursement of tuition and other campus fees. Similar lawsuits have been filed against USC, Loyola Marymount, and the University of California and California State University systems.
Pepperdine has not replied whether it plans to charge full tuition and fees for the upcoming semester.
Online classes will roll out on different days in August, depending on the particular school. Gash said students will receive detailed communications in the weeks ahead.
— Patch staffer Michael Wittner and City News Service contributed to this report.
This article originally appeared on the Malibu Patch