Cuesta College trustee refuses to step down

November 13, 2020

Pete Sysmak

After listening to dozens of community members ask for his resignation while claiming he is racist and homophobic, Cuesta College Board President Peter Sysak on Thursday refused to resign.

Elected in 2014 to the Cuesta College board, Sysak is a Republican who has shared a number of controversial memes on social media. In response to an onslaught of Black Lives Matter protests, Sysmak wrote that we do not have a “police problem, we have a disrespectful criminal thug problem.”

BLM leader Tianna Arata, who is charged with 13 misdemeanors regarding alleged rioting, said during public comment that it is “utterly disgusting” that Sysmak is permitted to remain on the board.

In response to allegations he is a racist, homophobic, Sysmek said, “I will say for the record that I’m a supporter of All Lives Matter; for Black, Latino, Asian, LGBTQ, people of color, the unborn. I’m against discrimination, hate crimes, racist groups. And I’m against defunding the police department and blue lives do matter.”

While the majority of public commenters asked Sysak to resign, he said he would not be bullied.

“These written and verbal attacks have been an assault on my character and integrity,” Sysak said. “I will not be bullied by these attacks.”

In the end, the board voted unanimously to create an internal advisory committee of two members, Mary Strobridge and Patrick Mullen, to investigate the social media posts.

The committee will present their findings at a Dec. 9 meeting.


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kevin rise

To all who name call, including me, shame on us for creating divides. The sanctity of a college for open ideology is critical. To debate it, agree or disagree. We need freedom of speech and thought, even radical. College is where we all meet. To censor someone and use religion or status quo is risky. Open ended dialogue is needed to create group consensus on all fringe thought. Including this man who was being judged, rightly so, on his fringe belief system, and shouldn’t have to quit because of it if Democracys guidelines work soundly. We could be China easily, and have come close recently in the attacks of free media, even if alot of it propoganda and people lack the knowledge to disseminate scholastic peer reviewed data and facts. Fact checking matters, and this man is expressing HIS viewpoint of fringe ideology.


robdadbod

Kevin- What of his viewpoints do you consider “fringe”?


Moderator

Please address the Policies, events and arguments, not the person.


Jon Tatro

The story should be a man states common sense and a handful liberal snowflakes cry.


Adam Trask

One more reason why public officials should stay off social media, unless they are offering specific information which is important to their constituency.


isoslo

The only people who are going to support Mr. Sysak are others who believe in freedom of speech and up until now have donated generously to Cuesta. Oh wait that would be me and most people I know. Stand firm sir you have done nothing wrong!


MrYan

You’re always free to speak. Yet you are never free from what you may have said.

You are not afforded that right. Own it, or don’t say it.


BTW I seem to remember Abdullah Al Thani, a former student of Cuesta in the 1970’s, who is Muslim, making a rather large donation to the school a few years back.

Maybe it is in the boards best interest not to alienate the donor class with bigotry……and possibly forgo your cup of coffee level donation that must be steeped in support of bigotry or risk being withheld.


robdadbod

Mr. Yan- Show me what part of this comment is offensive to you.


“I will say for the record that I’m a supporter of All Lives Matter; for Black, Latino, Asian, LGBTQ, people of color, the unborn. I’m against discrimination, hate crimes, racist groups. And I’m against defunding the police department and blue lives do matter.”


Buchon

I am utterly disgusted that Tiana Isis Arrata was allowed to comment. See how that works? ;)


Rouse

We too concur she is a 1/2 WHITE and 1/2 ? she has been a thorn in the side of SLO since the day she arrived with her welfare Mother and they both need to get a Job and work for a living and stop living off the Public Monies and these bogus “Fund Me” sites.


She disgusts all of us who are locals and she will be convicted


Buchon

Sounds like a witch-hunt. FBLM.


MrYan

He’s been appropriately chastised for being douchey. Can we move on? I am sure this dude would have preferred to have his public rebuke contained to those who show up to board meetings in person. This would be over for him by now.


Probably would have flown under the radar too if Ms. Arata had decided not to participate. Is that what made this newsworthy? Old white dudes, sitting on boards, saying mildly bigoted things is not that uncommon.


derasmus

Nothing bigoted in his words, politically incorrect perhaps, not very woke, probably; definitely not racist.


sunister1

“Old white dudes” nice racist comment.


robdadbod

So this statement- —


“I will say for the record that I’m a supporter of All Lives Matter; for Black, Latino, Asian, LGBTQ, people of color, the unborn. I’m against discrimination, hate crimes, racist groups. And I’m against defunding the police department and blue lives do matter.”

—Mr. Yan says is bigoted… and this statement…


“Old white dudes, sitting on boards, saying mildly bigoted things is not that uncommon”


—is not?


Slosum

So what did he say? All we’ve heard are reactions. What did he say that was so bad?


GBCollegeStudent

Basically blaming all Muslims for the 9/11 terror attacks, implying that gays are immoral perverts, asking “What’s wrong with the Proud Boys?” (btw the Proud Boys are a white supremacist group, THAT’S what’s wrong with the Proud Boys!)


sunister1

This is exactly what they mean by cancel culture.


GBCollegeStudent

Don’t mistake cancel culture for someone being held responsible for his actions. If there wasn’t anything here to be concerned about the Board wouldn’t have held a special meeting and formed an investigatory committee. The Chancellor of California Community Colleges wouldn’t have noticed. Our faculty senate wouldn’t have condemned him.


kevin rise

Ignore the angry rebuttal here. The man expressed fringe ideology and was consulted for it democratically at a university, as by design. As by democracy, his ideology is allocated as fringe, hateful and idiotic by a council of his DIVERSE peers. He should resign out of honor. BUT LOOK AT HIS MENTOR, TRUMP, he refuses to concede and disgraces Democracy and America. Theres a place for counter culture like this, in text books as a stark lesson to freedom of speech and thought.


Last Individual

Oh, I see now. Your “concern” over someone apparently exercising (legal) first amendment rights needs summary punishment because they have been “condemned” by a faculty (I’m sure unanimously), and subjected to an “investigatory committee” by a board (which probably has no power to do anything in this matter). On the other hand, someone with the initials TA who has been CHARGED with a CRIME needs to be summarily exonerated by a COURT (which does have the power to do something) without trial.


Do you learn this s…tuff from the aforementioned faculty?


What do you want to be when you grow up? I hope it has nothing to do with logic.


otisthecat

Oh c’mon! “Don’t mistake cancel culture for someone being held responsible for his actions” What actions? Actions that are not illegal but you don’t agree with? You and your mob are so righteous that you’re there to make sure that people are held accountable, right? That if people have a different opinion than you, hurt your feelings, offend you or your cat then they should be held accountable, right? BS. What you’re doing is cancel culture. Who are you and your mob to demand anyone to quit their job? What authority do you have to demand such a thing? Why don’t you go get your free education and quit worrying about everyone else’s political correctness! Oh and by the way, he already said he’s not stepping down so get over it.