Cal Poly sacks football player, may have been illegal procedure

May 2, 2015
Marvin Abou with his niece and nephew

Marvin Abou with his niece and nephew

EDITOR’S NOTE: A letter from Marvin Abou’s landlord and the university’s response are at the end of this story.


The suspension of a 22-year-old Cal Poly student athlete within hours of his arrest on suspicion of felony DUI has raised questions about the fairness of the university’s actions and the speed in which the administration acted. Cal Poly barred Marvin Abou, a scholarship student and offensive lineman with the football team, from entering campus grounds before a police report was available or charges were brought in court.

Abou was arrested following an accident on April 19. Abou was driving a 2004 Jeep Wrangler with two passengers on Loomis Street shortly after 1 a.m. He attempted to make a turn and the Jeep flipped over onto its side before hitting a parked car. When police tested his blood alcohol, it was over the legal limit.

Cal Poly administrators suspended Abou within hours of his arrest declaring that he posed a “substantial threat to the safety and well-being of his fellow students.”

Abou and his front seat passenger received minor cuts to their foreheads. A SLO Police Department press release stated incorrectly that two of Abou’s passengers were injured.

Teammates, who were with Abou in the Jeep, question the university’s reaction to the accident and arrest. Offensive lineman Nick Enriques cut his head during the accident. Nevertheless, he believes the school is treating Abou more harshly than other students, he said.

Derek Sabo, an offensive lineman was in the back seat when the accident occurred. Sabo said he faces greater threats to his well being playing football for Cal Poly then he does from his teammate.

“I have had four concussions playing for Cal Poly,” Sabo said. “We sacrifice our bodies and this is what they do to us. He has been taken off the team, the thing he loves, do they have to take his education away also. We are like cattle and they do not care if we are successful in life.”

Marvin Abou on the far right with several friends from the Cal Poly football team

Marvin Abou on the far right with several friends from the Cal Poly football team

Sabo pointed to the difference in treatment with Cal Poly choosing to suspend Abou when students generally receive a warning letter after receiving their first DUI.

Students who have been charged with other serious crimes have been permitted to remain on campus and in classes by the Cal Poly administration.

Former fraternity president Gear McMillan recently pled no contest to felony drug sales. He was permitted to stay in school. Former running back Kristaan Ivory is facing multiple felony charges in connection with what police say was his participation in an armed robbery and he is currently attending classes. Several other students accused of sexually assaulting classmates or who have been arrested in connection with felony DUIs have also been permitted to continue attending classes while they go through the legal system.

The CSU system has a system, known as Executive Order 1098, in place to protect the rights of students. Before seeking a suspension of a student the school is required to fully investigate the charges. But the police report was not available when Abou was barred by Cal Poly.

Abou was given three days to select one of three options regarding temporary, permanent suspension from Cal Poly or a hearing. If he chose the hearing, Abou would not be able to attend classes during the process, the dean’s office informed Abou.

Cal Poly and the rest of the CSU universities are required to inform students in writing about a conference to discuss proposed penalties. The notice of conference is required to have seven items attached  including “a factual description of the student’s alleged conduct,” the section of the student conduct code the student violated and a copy of Executive Order 1098, none of which were included in Abou’s notice of conference.

But, Jay Thompson, a member of Cal Poly’s public relations team, said Cal Poly had followed proper procedures when administrators suspended Abou.

“Cal Poly’s process meets the highest standards of fundamental fairness and due process required by law,” Thompson said. “The process conforms with Executive Order 1098, which governs all student disciplinary matters throughout the CSU system.”

When he was a 3-year-old, Abou and his parents left Iraq, Abou said. The family is Christian and they feared for their safety.  After fleeing Iraq, the family moved to Jordan, then Greece and when Abou was 6,  the family moved to the United States. Abou and his parents are now American citizens.

Several hours after police arrested Abou, university officials barred him from entering the campus and gave him three days to elect to either be suspended for a year, withdraw from school or take it to a hearing, though he would not be able to attend classes during the process.

Abou’s landlords, Mike and Michelle McMurtrey, sent a letter to Duane Rohrbacher , associate dean of the office of student rights and responsibilities, asking him to reconsider the decision it had made about Abou. In the letter the couple wrote about Abou’s character and asked Rohrbacher to respond back to them.

“Marvin has been an exceptional tenant for the past two years,” the McMurterys wrote in their letter.  “He has become the house “handyman” of sorts. Marvin is a mature, responsible, respectful young man. He is a loyal friend and a supportive team-mate.”

Rohrbacker responded in an email telling the McMurtreys he did not take the time to read their letter, hoped they enjoyed San Luis Obispo and that he would not have time to meet with them to discuss Abou’s future.


Duane Rohrbacker’s email



 Mike and Michelle McMurtrey letter

RE: Marin Abou by CalCoastNews

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My child is currently attending Cal Poly. This story makes me uneasy. Why are cases where students actually intended to cause harm to others treated with less severe sanctions? Why has this young man been singled out? Are they trying to free up football scholarship money since he didn’t often play? Whatever the case, I simply don’t like the fact that people like the named administrator have the ability to act so callously and with such disregard for a student. Stay strong, Mr. Abou. You are doing the right thing by bringing this story to light.


President Armstrong: I thought things would be different at Poly under your leadership. Ultimately, you will be responsible for whether or not Mr. Abou receives fair and impartial treatment. I implore you to take the time to ensure what your pr flack says is true because it appears not. And about Rohrbacher, it’s time to clean house. The handling of this has been utterly bungled. These students entrust their futures to this university; it is your responsibility to ensure the right people are in place to guide them and provide them with tools they need to grow and succeed. Time to demonstrate some backbone and fairness.


All the things the landlords say may well be true, sounds like a fine young man other than the DUI. But is Daddy a Poly alum who supports the university? If Poly can overlook dozens of sexual assaults and frat boy drug dealing they should be able to assess this on a case by case basis.


As a parent of a Cal Poly student I am outraged at the way Rohrbacher has handled this situation. Young adults make mistakes. College is about learning and growing as a person. The university should be helping Abou through this, not kicking him to the curb so that they don’t have to deal with him. Abou is not just another body on campus. He’s a student with a future, and it’s absolutely ridiculous for Cal Poly to take that away from him.

Ted Slanders


How far would you personally go to allow Marvin’s “learning and growing as a person” if your Cal Poly offspring was a passenger in his car when he overturned it with an illegal blood DUI count? Furthermore, would you end Marvins “growing as an adult” if your kid was severly hurt or killed in this accident?

“Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink, who tarry late into the evening as wine inflames them!” (Isaiah 5:11)


If your offspring got in a car with someone, especially a friend, who drank too much,

then it is that bad decision of your junior to join the ride, who ultimately bear

responsibility over his/her own action, reckless decision.

Ted Slanders


Unfortunately, when “under the influence” of alcohol, people make bad decisions or are not even aware of being in danger, but the driver, as in this case, Marvin Biou, is the key participant of possible harm to others. Therefore, the outcome of his actions are paramount over any passengers making a bad decision of riding with him.

Obviously Mr. Abou is not a true Christian because of allowing this act to happen. Granted, all equal acts of Cal Poly students should be treated in the same manner.


Yeah, but the thing is he doesn’t “start”. Cal Poly is going use it’s mulligan to get Kristan Ivory back in the lineup. But NOW we’re going to “crack” down.


This young man clearly made a mistake, but Cal Poly has no right to take away his education. It is worrisome that this student’s entire future is based on the decision of a man who clearly has no regard for the wellbeing of Abou. No good will come from suspending him- it will just make things worse and he will have a harder time getting back on his feet. Why not let the legal system deal with this? That is why it exists…

Ted Slanders

“If a bull gores a man or a woman to death, the bull must be stoned to death, and its meat must not be eaten. But the owner of the bull will not be held responsible. If, however, the bull has had the habit of goring and the owner has been warned but has not kept it penned up and it kills a man or woman, the bull must be stoned AND THE OWNER ALSO MUST BE PUT TO DEATH.” (Exodus 21: 28-29)

The Bible makes it clear that our God highly values a safe society. Fortunately, for Marvin Abou, who knowingly endangered his team-mates with reckless abandon because of his DUI, didn’t kill them, otherwise, our Christian doctrine commands that he should be put to death as the godly inspired passage above so states.

Unfortunately, every year thousands of families grieve the deaths of loved ones who have been needlessly killed by drunk drivers and we put up with this scenario in our society rather than actually enforcing the penalties that would be required by God’s law.

As any Christian would agree, Marvin Biou is getting off cheaply with what has been proposed by Cal Poly, and he should thank his lucky stars that this is all he is getting! No more coddling of drunk drivers, therefore, throw the book at them, and in Marvin Abou’s case, let the bible be that book!


Ted you are an bible thumping idiot!!!! most “Christians” are not going to agree with your

archaic uneducated interpretation of a scripture that is taken out of context. obviously you

are a great representation of the “Christian” hypocrite that ruins the “Christian” image for many. Marvin made a mistake and as Christ would do he should be FORGIVEN!!! He is a young kid learning life’s painful lessons the hard way. He deserves to move forward, deal with the consequences of his mistake and finish his education and commitment to the team. You, however, can crawl back under your rock and commune with the other slime who use God’s word inappropriately.

Ted Slanders


You are correct in that “most Christians” will not agree with literal bible verse, where with what our Hebrew God said once, He did not mean for it to be taken in so many different contradicting ways. The passage in question says what it says, and if you can’t relate to the literal meaning, but want to rewrite it to mean something else to safeguard your ungodly position, then that is YOUR problem, not Yahweh’s.

Burger King Christians, that want their bible “their way” like you, are all talk and no action when it comes to proving their points biblically.

The Word

Matthew 6:9-13King James Version (KJV)

9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Ted Slanders

The Word,

Finally, a TRUE Christian makes themselves known! Thank you for positing the ONLY prayer that any true Christian is suppose to pray, and that is, the “Lord’s Prayer.”

Don’t forget, you are to accomplish this prayer in PRIVATE; Jesus stated: “Whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray while standing in synagogues and on street corners so that people can see them. Truly I say to you, they have their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:5-6)

Cathy S.

This reply from Rohrbacher is very similar to responses I have received when questioning some absurd decision or action by Cal Poly. They treat parents and community members alike when we don’t blindly support everything Cal Poly does. We are valued only for our pocketbooks and even then if we cause any trouble or want information made public they prefer you go away rather than respond to requests for information, even if large donations go away too. Cal Poly seems to think they can do anything they want and don’t even have to follow their own policies. I hope this student can find an attorney to represent him, and point out that Cal Poly refuses to apply their rules consistently.


How much are WE paying Duane Rohrbacher? His response is ridiculously trite, arrogant, and condescending. We need to take back our public institutions of higher learning and reestablish their intended mission as opposed to the mutated system of providing nice salaries to the Duanes of the state.


A lot, six figures for life for being around to stupidly handle things like this.

Rich in MB

There is no fairness or due process in the University System, which when you run things by Liberals, why would you expect anything different than knee jerk Tyranny.

On University Campuses today….Society Tomorrow.

Ted Slanders

Rich in MB,

Again, you mistake the liberal being in place at Cal Poly with this story and outcome of the punishment towards Marvin Abou. In biblical terms, the heirarchy at Cal Poly making the decision that they did towards Mr. Abou is conservative in nature.

Conversely, the true liberal stance on a situation like this would have been equaled to Jesus’ words herewith: “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” (Matthew 7:1-2)

In simpler terms, tell your wanting statement to the number one liberal, Jesus Christ, where he preached ad infinitum of complete forgiveness, therefore his liberal nature wouldn’t have imposed such a severe punishment to Mr. Marvin Abou, whereas the conservative nature did.


Ted, how about explaining the context and TRUE intent/meaning of Matthew 7:1-2, instead of the warped use of it you liberals always try to fling into conservative Christians faces?

Ted Slanders


Look up the term “self-explanatory.”

Thank you.


Slanders, broaden your narrow mind and actually look into context, something you NEVER do in your bigoted postings. Be honest for once, find out what something actually MEANS, especially in this case. I could spell it out for you but that would be too easy.

Ted Slanders


You are all hat and no cattle, again. You flaunt your alleged expertise relating to YOUR interpretation of bible passages, but never come forward and give them.

Your kind of Christian are a dime-a dozen.

Good day.

Rich in MB

Why even respond to a bigot? Let them alone…