LOS ANGELES: Worried by the possibility that his PR major could be discontinued, a Pepperdine University student has launched a campaign aimed at saving the school's program from budget cuts.
Grant Turck, a junior at the Malibu, CA, university, has been waging a one-man PR battle to bring attention to a campus review that could cause the PR major to be dropped or folded into a larger, integrated-marketing program.
Using media outreach, e-mails, and letters to alumni - and a press release giving the contact information of key administration officials - Turck has encouraged interested parties to contact the school to protest changing the program.
"I have sent a typed letter via e-mail to numerous alumni, faculty, and students of Pepperdine," Turck explained. "I have received tremendous response."
Part of his campaign has been to question the university's claims that a budget shortfall might force it to make cuts and to point out its expenditure of $300,000 on "campus beautification" projects.
"I must ask you, what makes a University? Is it the educational programs or is it the newly installed fountain and swaying palm trees?" he asked in his press release.
Pepperdine PR head Jerry Derloshon said that "any assertion that the PR program has been cut or will be cut is overstating the issue. What is going on [here] is how to make the program better and what will it look like once it's made better."
Derloshon said the review would take several months and added that Turck's campaign is having an effect.
The dean's office has been contacted by many concerned people, he explained. "[The
campaign] sent more e-mails or phone calls into the dean's office expressing opinions."
Derloshon added, however, that the university was handling the campaign on a call-by-call basis and did not intend to issue a release or other response.