Another racist incident at Cal Poly

April 18, 2018

Following fresh allegations of racism at Cal Poly, including a new fraternity photo that surfaced, university President Jeffrey Armstrong announced Tuesday that all Panhellenic and Interfraternity Council fraternities and sororities have been placed on indefinite suspension. [Cal Coast Times]

Last month, three members of the Sigma Nu fraternity were photographed holding Corona bottles and wearing outfits appearing to impersonate Hispanics. The photo, which just recently surfaced, was shared on social media with the caption, “When you get he holmes to take a photo of la familia.”

Armstrong responded with a long message to the campus community expressing outrage and providing a detailed list of action the Cal Poly administration is taking in response to recent fraternity activity and other alleged racism. The university president described the Sigma Nu photo as “another incident of racial profiling and cultural appropriation.”

The circulation of the Sigma Nu photo comes days following large protests on campus over a blackface incident at the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. Lambda Chi Alpha members were also photographed dressed as gangsters.

“After learning this morning about another incident of racial profiling and cultural appropriation that occurred at Sigma Nu six weeks ago, I am announcing today an indefinite suspension of all Panhellenic and Interfraternity Council fraternities and sororities,” Armstrong stated. “I understand this impacts Greek Life organizations that have been operating responsibly and with integrity. However, Greek Life is a privilege at this university and until all fraternities and sororities are conducting themselves in a manner that is respectful of all students — as well as holding each other accountable — they will not have a place at Cal Poly.”

In addition to the fraternity and sorority suspensions, other actions university administrators are taking include hiring an independent African-American diversity and inclusion specialist. The specialist, Kimberly McLaughlin-Smith from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, will work with administrators, faculty, staff and students to help the Cal Poly administration better understand the concerns and perspectives of underrepresented students and to improve the campus climate and culture.

Cal Poly will also begin requiring bias training for all hiring committees and certain faculty. Likewise, Armstrong noted that over his tenure, which began in 2011, Cal Poly’s student body decreased from 63 percent white to 55 percent white.

On the question of disciplining students for alleged racism, Armstrong said the university is required by law to uphold free speech.

Also on Tuesday, a Cal Poly professor posted photos of apparent vandalism surrounding his campus office. The images include photos of statements and graphics about race, intelligence and homicide rates; the word “NIGGER” written on a bathroom stall; a ripped poster of a woman in an American flag head covering; and a ripped sign belonging to the professor, stating he works “with and for undocumented students and families.”

The professor, Neal A. MacDougall, responded to the vandalism with a statement criticizing Armstrong for denying there is a racist culture on campus.

“I know that Cal Poly President Armstrong has asserted that a racist culture does not exist at Cal Poly but it makes me wonder what kind of culture these images represent? All of this was centered around my office hallway this morning. I think we have to move beyond protecting the Cal Poly “brand” and start dealing with the Cal Poly reality,” MacDougall wrote in a Facebook post.







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20 Comments

  1. CCWine says:

    Can we use this opportunity to ban Robert Downey Jr for “Tropic Thunder” and the Wayans Bothers for “White Chicks” too? Those were both terrible movies

    (1) 15 Total Votes - 8 up - 7 down
  2. CCWine says:

    Can we use this opportunity to ban Robert Downey Jr for “Tropic Thunder” and the Wayans Bothers for “White Chicks” too. Those were both terrible movies

    (5) 7 Total Votes - 6 up - 1 down
  3. copperhead says:

    It looks to me as if these students are parodying gangbangers. Is that how the calpoly administration views Hispanics?

    (-9) 27 Total Votes - 9 up - 18 down
  4. CCWine says:

    When I look around, all i see is tolerance and acceptance and multiculturalism. Cal Poly already is this open minded and tolerant place, despite a couple idiots who make the rest look bad. There no need to for the president to go this far, but whatever its your safe space bubble. Im just glad I got out of school a few years ago before the SJWs took over and killed all the fun and edgy humor

    (2) 20 Total Votes - 11 up - 9 down
  5. sweethome says:

    I’m deeply offended because some of the Poly students recently dressed up as “zombies” at a party. We prefer to be called as “the non-living community”. And people think that all we want is brains! Not true. And people keep trying to shoot us in the head! Enough already! How about some zombie sensitivity training? How about offering a degree of Zombification? And why not join your local chapter of PETZ (People for Ethical Treatment of Zombies) ? Remember folks; undead lives matter!

    (5) 23 Total Votes - 14 up - 9 down
  6. AmericaTheFree says:

    Actions speak volumes above dress or costumes, don’t y’all think? If any of these “black face” individuals or “La Raza Gangsters” impersonators had a history of overt racist actions then there is a problem, if not, nothing but fodder. Besides, this is an educational institution, right? The President of Cal Poly should see this as an opportunity to educate and enlighten, not one for punishment.

    I will tell you this though, working for a contractor in the early ’90’s that owned a couple of fraternity apartment complexes around Cal Poly I have seen the overt racism and prejudice that at least two of the fraternities exhibited; overt in the sense that within their “house” it was common to hear all the discriminatory and racial slurs commonly used to describe folks of color, or, folks of different sexual orientation, or, folks of different gender identification, or folks of different educational levels. It was even more common for me to hear all of this with some level of trust from the “brothers” when they saw my overt racist tattoos.

    To know racism I think you should have some basic knowledge of what it is, experience it on a personal level, then and only then can you speak of it with any authority. Until we recognize the fact that racism and prejudice is a multicultural thing and not just relegated to the Caucasian race it’ll continue in one form or another and at the peril of all.

    (19) 19 Total Votes - 19 up - 0 down
  7. copperhead says:

    Students all over calpoly are frantically deleting their “snap face” accounts as we speak. Remember students, before speaking, writing, posting a photo or picking out a Halloween costume ask yourselves, is there anyone in the world who could possibly be offended by this (except Christians, republicans, and white heterosexual males- they are all still fair game).

    (-8) 26 Total Votes - 9 up - 17 down
  8. Wildrnes says:

    Doc T needs to quit whining and getting on the high horse about civil rights. Civil rights? Being treated like a second-rate citizen, denied basic freedoms, segregated, being offended based on ethnicity, to list a few. Geez, are you even capable of original thought? Or are you going to rant on?

    (22) 48 Total Votes - 35 up - 13 down
    • DocT says:

      Yes, let’s not get all worked up over something like “rights.” Instead, let’s ignore those rights we all have and concentrate on the agenda at hand! Is that what you’re trying to say?

      Who is being treated like a second class citizen here? Who is being segregated? Who is being denied basic freedoms? NO ONE. Not a single person….other than the students who dressed up.

      This whole thing is 100% crazy. Again, If I’m a man and want to dress up like a woman, that’s great! If I’m in my 30’s and want to die my hair gray, no problem! If I’m white and want to paint my skin blue (Blue Man Group) no problem!

      But dressing like a gangster? Painting my face black? These are crimes against humanity, we’re told.

      Again, the only kind of free speech that matters is the kind that offends. Quit trying to punish people to further an agenda. Reserve punishment for those that have committed a crime; and none of these people committed crime.

      Dressing up is not a crime.

      (-26) 70 Total Votes - 22 up - 48 down

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