Cal Poly professor warns students to be wary of police officers

May 21, 2021

Detective Luca Benedetti


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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These professors are too ideological. How about educating students to be respectful towards the police and emergency services? Extremely poor judgement distributing this email at a time when an officer is being laid to rest.


This is not about their ideology. It’s about Navarro’s desire to stir the pot — to divide the community through unrest. It’s about Navarro wanting to make their protest bones in their ethnic studies world. It’s sickening.


Anti law and order public servants especially teachers should be fired immediately…haven’t we seen their dirty work materialize for over two years now?….

Kids hate cops they don’t fear them…stop teaching rubbish to our kids…


I agree with you except I wouldn’t state it quite like that. Kids should RESPECT law enforcement and understand their extremely important role in a civil society. They should not “fear” cops. Fear, in general, is not healthy a healthy state on an individual level or at a societal level.

But other than that I agree with you completely.


How about next time this professor serves a search warrant or maybe spends a day with a member of law enforcement so she really has something she can discuss intelligently? And for the individual that posted the professor’s statement on IG, well she has removed it most likely at the advice of her attorney. She is the one who creates division and hate with her words and actions in this community. So it is unsafe to have numerous LE in town to pay respects to a fallen officer yet safe to march onto a highway. And PS- where is our mayor to create unity? Oh! Absent!! It all starts at the top.


Why does the California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo even have an Ethnic Studies Department? I could possibly see a single (elective) class offered on the subject perhaps, but an entire department which offers a degree in this subject? Utter insanity!

Talk about a horrid waste of taxpayer money and student space at such a highly impacted university.



Poly is a little “sandbox” for the progressive cultural and administrative elites.

Yet, it is a PUBLIC university, and therefore the PUBLIC, should have some voice in their programs.


I think you meant “litter box”. It sure needs a good cleaning.

kevin rise

Police have jailed and murdered people illegally throughout our history. Dont Cancel Culuture our past of police brutality and crimes over an officers death. Stop the fake Woke Right Wing Christian Nationalists.


That’s right, only the left-wing, self-righteous, uninclusive white nationalist Progressives can be fake woke. The cancel culture is okay for their bigoted stances. Isn’t how the games played by them?


Maybe you should remove 9-11 from your phone and handle any danger that comes your way all by yourself…..


This cannot be a serious post. Must be a devils advocate looking to ignite emotions. However in today’s world…. I don’t think anyone wants to bury or “cancel” any type of police brutality. That’s the type of usual response when there’s no excuse for an act so cold and thoughtless like “warning” people about who’s attending a funeral. Man, this wasnt a funeral for Al Capone. Simple fact, they continue to expose themselves for what they truly are…


Your spot on.

Adam Trask

I’m thinking that George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Jacob Blake, Daunte Wright and many others would have definitely appreciated a heads up about law enforcement in their area. In case you haven’t been paying attention, individuals of color are consistently targeted by LE and they often end up dead. The Navarros appear to be acknowledging this in a common sense way.

kevin rise

Agreed, stop the right wing cancel culture trying to silence racism with their woke ideologies.


No sale, sonny!

The “cancel culture” is unique to the far left. It’s one of the most divisive and pathetic sociopolitical “developments” in the past century or so.

Cancel culture practitioners are destined to be impacted by the rot of their own hideous invention. It’s going to be cinematic…


Riiiiiight…. Better watch out for all these law enforcement people showing up at a funeral…to pay their respects to and support the wife and children of an officer killed. Its rude, completely narcissistic, and shows a total lack of respect for people. Its the kind of demented nonsense that keeps the fire of hate burning. But you go ahead and watch out…


Maybe the Benedetti Family would appreciate a little time of respect and mourning before using this as a political opportunity to continue to spread division, fear, hate or

worse yet, potentially inciting the insurgency groups of blm. r.a.c.e. matters slo, or the cowardly terrorist group antifa.

I would suspect the reason individuals are “targeted” as you put it, is because they are breaking the law. Many other ethnicities are killed by Police other than black and brown. Again, due to their actions of choosing to break the law. But I guess in some minds that’s okay or not a problem because their white.

There’s nothing common sense about promoting bigotry, racism, hate or being fascist like these two are doing. Anyone that defends them is also promoting these things. Birds of the same feather…………..


And those few override the thousands of people the Police save every year? Don’t fight, scream, or run from the Police and you won’t have any problem.


Individuals of color are NOT targeted by LE, criminals are. And all of your Newspeak can’t change that demonstrable fact.


All people that broke the law….

George Garrigues

Good work, Karen.


Ethnic Studies 110 was a requirement when I was a CP student. Hard to believe the faculty from the more serious disciplines at CP regard it as anything other than a joke.

Adam Trask

Guessing you thought literature and history were a waste of time as well.


Technical Writing with Melody DeMeritt was one of the very best. Hopefully she doesn’t mind the association.

Your headline is inflammatory-no one used the word “wary” on social media. When police are setting up checkpoints they give notice. The professor gave notice. The words used seem intended to bolster enforcement support by basically telling the students to “behave” as there will be maximum law enforcement presence on campus. That is how I read it. Your interpretation, your story and some of the reader’s comments are the (only) anti-peaceful sentiments here. Cal Coast News should consider its journalistic responsibility to the community and keep the yellow tactics on historical tour at Hearst Castle where they belong. Thank you.


Not even close to the same thing but good try…. When police put out notice of checkpoints there’s definite interaction, unless you decide to take a different route. Its usually to raise awareness of drinking and driving. I dont think anyone honestly thinks it was a simple behavior notice without any other intent. If so, why wasn’t it from the university at large? Are the current students that dim that they need a nanny? Maybe so, their early adult life will be under a nanny government… To do something like they did is just senseless and completely disrespectful. It just is.