Cal Poly student arrested for threat to diversity leader
December 5, 2015
University police arrested a Cal Poly student Friday for sending a death threat to the leader of the SLO Solidarity student group. Hundreds of students, faculty members and even Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong joined SLO Solidarity in pro-diversity rallies following publication of the threat.
Charles Raymond Bird, 20, allegedly sent the death threat to Matt Klepfer Monday night by way of a Facebook profile with the name Mordecai Shekelburg. Klepfer is the president of the Cal Poly Queer Student Union in addition to serving as organizer for the SLO Solidarity group.
Klepfer and unnamed members of SLO Solidarity were the targets of the threat. The Facebook message also included a jab at Jews.
“The day of the rope will be coming soon, and you people will be the first to go. If you don’t like how it is in this town, you can all go somewhere else. We have a nice thing going here, and if you fuck with that you’re going to have some pretty angry young white man on your hands. Kike.”
Klepfer received the threat late Monday and reported it to police that night. University police investigated the threat for a few days and arrested Bird around noon Friday.
Officers booked Bird in San Luis Obispo County Jail on charges of felony threats and a hate crime. No other suspects are connected to the threat, investigators say.
Bird is no longer in custody, according to the county sheriff’s website.
Both UPD Cmdr. Brenda Trobaugh and Armstrong released statements following the arrest.
“The threat was made via social media, and the sender had gone to great lengths to disguise his identity,” Trobaugh said. “This made for a very complex investigation that required our officers to obtain multiple search warrants in order to gather evidence from several places.”
Armstrong said the death threat was reprehensible.
“I am pleased to report that our University Police Department has pursued this incident diligently and that we identified the person we believe to be responsible for this reprehensible action,” Armstrong said. “This arrest further reiterates that there is no place for hate at Cal Poly.”
On Thursday, Armstrong marched alongside SLO Solidarity in the “anti-hate” rally. SLO Solidarity is threatening Armstrong’s job if Cal Poly administrators do not deliver on a list of 41 demands made by the student group.
The group’s demands include mandatory women’s and gender studies or ethnic studies courses, gender-neutral on-campus living quarters, gender-neutral bathrooms and a dramatic increase in the hiring of tenure-line “faculty of color.” SLO Solidarity says it will demand a new administration if its demands are not met.