Protest against Cal Poly president planned for graduation

June 12, 2018

President Jeffrey Armstrong

Recent protests over racism and other alleged injustice on the Cal Poly campus will spill over to the university graduation this weekend. [Cal Coast Times]

Student protesters and social justice activists are calling on graduates to refuse to shake President Jeffrey Armstrong’s hand at Cal Poly’s graduation ceremony. A Facebook page organizing the protest is requesting that graduates show solidarity with marginalized students by politely declining a handshake with Armstrong, and in doing so, demand that the president resign.

“Jeffrey D. Armstrong has lost the moral authority to lead this university,” the Facebook page states.

“Why should you shake his hand? Has Jeffrey ever done anything for you? There is no reason to shake the hand of a man who demonstrates disrespect for students on a daily basis. Maybe he has never disrespected your personally, but…

“A handshake with Jeffrey is a slap in the face to all those harmed by his (in)actions.”

Cal Poly has responded with a statement defending Armstrong’s record on diversity and saying the university is disappointed to learn of the planned protest.

“Of course it is disappointing to hear there may be some students who choose not to shake President Armstrong’s hand during commencement, but we support our students’ right to protest and have their voices heard,” the press release says. “Their call for increased diversity at Cal Poly is shared passionately by President Armstrong and the entire administration — this has been and will continue to be a priority.”

The planned graduation demonstration would be the latest in a series of protests that have swept Cal Poly since an incident in which a fraternity member was photographed in blackface. Additionally, there is currently an online petition calling for Armstrong’s resignation.

As of Tuesday morning, the petition has received more than 1,100 signatures. The petition faults Armstrong for allegedly taking insufficient action on combating racism.


When these kids leave the “safety” of campus and enter the shitstorm known as adult life, exactly how are they going to cope? Staying safe from anything that offends is about to get very difficult.


What’s the old adage? I think the inmates are running the asylum now.


The best way to bring down high and mighty entities such as Armstrong is to embarrass them. The issue is that these students are graduating: they are therefore out of reach of the wack-a-mole hammer Cal Poly uses to keep students, staff, and faculty inline. Armstrong has made an incredible amount of mistakes as president; lucky for him that he surrounds himself with yes-man and brown-nosers. I predict that Cal Poly will change the format of the graduation in order to not have the handshake as part of the ceremony. Problem solved!


Well, hey- here’s an idea: if they refuse to shake Armstrong’s hand, then he should hand them a diaper instead of a diploma.


Maybe if they hold their breaths until they turn blue they will get everything they want…


a better display would be to take a knee.


I sure hope that someone keeps track of which students refuse the handshake and then posts that list in a prominent place so that future job recruiters can see who they are hiring. Regardless of the students decision, they should own it – get used to being responsible for your decisions.


Social injustice eh? And you all are going to Calpoly to get a job making how much was that? Were not talking Jack in the Crack flippin burgers. One can only surmise all you snow flakes will donate 50% of your income to the socially deprived and those making less than you, yes?


I nice that they want to speak up and all that but, refusing to shake the president’s hand? I mean, if you’re so offended why not grow a pair and refuse to receive you diploma all together. Skip the walk and explain to mom and dad that you’re mad because this man is a meanie and you’re mad and all worked up over it. See how your family likes another one of your tantrums that cost them thousands of dollars. In 3 months you’ll be over it and no one will remember that you didn’t shake the guys hand. So pointless…….