Cal Poly professor warns students to be wary of police officers

May 21, 2021

Detective Luca Benedetti

By KAREN VELIE

When several thousand police gathered on the Cal Poly campus to honor a murdered San Luis Obispo police officer and university alum, Cal Poly students got a warning to be careful.

The widely shared on social media notice from either ethnic studies Chair Jenell Navarro or her husband professor Jose Navarro, a member of the department faculty, told students that officers would be in SLO. It’s not clear who authored the email. Neither responded to emailed questions about the notice.

“I have learned that there will be anywhere from 2,000-3,000 police officers on campus in attendance of this service,” the warning to students says. “It is likely they will be downtown or in other spaces in SLO throughout the day.”

The couple has been outspoken on racial justice issues and published “Braided Together: Native and Black Hip Hop Against Police Violence” in thinking about hip hop: blackness, indigeneity, and identity published by Do It Ourselves Press (DIO) in 2019. DIO describes itself as a, “socially-conscious peer reviewed publishing company.”

“I am letting you know so you can take proper precautions for your well-being and safety,” the warning adds.

The warning, which BLM leader Tianna Arata shared in an Instagram story, was quickly criticized as inflammatory on social media and by SLO resident David Sparcmann.

“Why on earth would you send out such a horribly bigoted and inflammatory, not to mention inaccurate email?” Sparcman said in an email to Dr. Jenell Navarro. “Are you intentionally trying to trigger unrest on campus and in our local community? Or is your email simply an exercise to inculcate young minds into fearing and hating law enforcement?

“Either way your reckless actions are reprehensible,” Sparcman added. “You require serious discipline.”

Cal Poly declined to comment about the post other than to say the university supports free speech and recognizing the death of an alum.

“As a state institution, Cal Poly supports the right of all its campus community members and visitors to express their individual opinions, regardless of their positions,” Matt Lazier, Cal Poly media relations director, said. “Cal Poly was honored to support a service to recognize and memorialize an individual, and Cal Poly alum, who lost his life while serving San Luis Obispo.”

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mullyman

Why does everyone keep bring up the past in reference to people of different races treating others badly. Unfortunately it happened and in some cases it’s still going on but we can’t change the past but we can do better in the future so quit dwelling on the past and work on making it better in future. Also it keeps getting brought up about Police hating/killing black people but if you look around the country almost all of the killing of black people is done by the people of their own race and no one says anything about that.


JoBro

Commentary borders on knee jerk reaction and/or simplistic analogy . So much of the native culture of Coastal Calif. prominently features the Chumash , yet no one remembers to give them acknowledgment for what they endured and suffered when the German, Irish, English and all the groups mentioned in comments came to explore and rule by divine providence . The Chumash were mere obstacles to the ambitions and privilege of these interlopers, much like Israel is today with the theft of Arab land as they continue their child-genocide of Palestinians. History is repeating itself much like the predictable range of human emotions and attitudes when an encounter with a vastly different culture sees conflicts settled through hostility with weapons of force (institutionalized racism in law enforcement is the norm), the tools of our species survival , for all the damage it continues to leave. —That music instructor has voiced a legitimate concern , given the terrible campus police hires that plague CalPoly and stain its spirit . Skin color is simply an aspect of environmental pressure on human biology , having little to do with our concepts of race .


giblets56

Maybe our illustrious universities should include Basket Weaving 101. I’m sure that there is some cultural lessons as well as ethnic lessons. This college, if you deem to call it that, should be closed and the divisive professors fired! Talk about racism and pure hate! I would not send my dog there! Nor do I give any business to SLO anymore. Sad, sad, sad.


LeroyMoo

Basically the professor’s letter on this higher education campus is teaching stereotyping of cops to be feared. I suppose stereotyping is a necessity in an ethnic studies curriculum when looking at past history, but is it productive for future events? As for Tianna, she can’t wait for new stereotype examples to exacerbate her implosion.


cooperdog

Ethnic studies. Sounds like a hobby, not a profession.


Gordo

Ethnic studies? I wonder if they study the Irish, Italians and Germans? I’m guessing not.


ososkid

They actually do. It’s fairly important part of the field. Whiteness is a social construct which is shown in evidence by the fact that those of us who may now be considered white, for myself it my Irish roots, but this was not always the case. Only a few generations ago my ancestors did not enjoy the benefits of white society that I now experience in full. Just 50 years ago Italians were seen as the other. Even the Germans, who now make up the most common family lineage in the US, were once non white outsiders seen than as little more than as the barbarian Hessians,


Ethnic studies, in part, is the study of power and how it is doled out in America. It is both relevant and important to understanding America for how it is. Of course, you’re not much interested in America, as it is, are you? You just wish to be coddled by childish myths and outlandish fairytale origin stories. Otherwise, you’d have to actually think


Buchon

Your use of the term “whiteness” is terribly racist. Your drive to vilify Caucasians of all nationalities is horribly objectionable.


Traditionally there’s no racial difference between (at least the majority) of Germans, Irish, Italians and Anglo-Saxons. But there are huge cultural and religious differences.


Attempting to boil it down vast differences between different nationalities to race-only, is deeply ignorant and offensive. One more reason why a great many good people look down at ridiculous social dividers and taxpayer money wasters like “ethnic studies departments.”


The largest groups of Americans today are of: English, German, Irish and Scots extraction. Yet I would bet there’s not a single faculty member in any “ethnic studies department” in the USA whose doctoral focus was any of those nationalities as they pertain to the US populous. Chilling!


coyote

Here, I narrowed it down. You either came from Shem, Ham , or Japheth. It’s all the human race, whatever shade one’s skin happens to be. All the study of this is merely a way to blame someone else for the inherent human condition of which we are all guilty, ie., sin.


Gordo

LOL I love listening to the “United Colors of Benetton” crew justify curriculum that is a waste of student’s time and money. Jon Tatro was right when he said this major will prepare you for a career selling hamburgers.

I’m a Mexican-American and I know my family’s history and their struggles in Mexico and in America. What I don’t need is some tweed jacket wearing professor with a ponytail interpreting my experience for me or putting their interpretation out as indisputable fact. I also don’t appreciate your lot making up gender neutral words for the Spanish language. LatinX is some BS term that was created because some deep thinker at a university decided they knew better.


slo-to-load

LOL! The Irish aren’t white? Germans (you know, the ones who promoted the existence of an Aryan race) also aren’t white? I guess now that it is trendy to consider “white” as a pejorative, all nationalities are scrambling to explain how they aren’t actually “white”.


If you really need to have a term for the “social construct for those in power”, it would much better to call it something that isn’t a descriptor associated with someone’s skin color.


commonsenseguy

Race baiting 101 is what the class really is.