This letter reflects the opinions of Bend the Arc SLO! co-chair Susan Dressler. Letters to the editor do not reflect the opinion or editorial coverage of Mustang News.
The campus and the surrounding communities have once again been shocked by the continuing racist behavior that has been exhibited by some students at Cal Poly. Unfortunately, these are not isolated incidents, but rather they reflect the struggles that are playing out across our nation. The increasing number of hate crimes against people of color, Muslims, Jews and immigrants is a direct result of our society’s often unspoken intolerance of diversity. Cal Poly, like the rest of San Luis Obispo county, is an anomaly in that our demographics do not reflect the demographics within our state in general nor in our country.
These racist incidents at Cal Poly spill over into the surrounding communities and especially affect the city of San Luis Obispo. If anyone thinks that students’ unacceptable and disgusting actions on campus stay confined to Cal Poly, they are wrong. Those very same students have a negative impact on our local community that is working very hard to be a welcoming place where civil discourse and mutual understanding is touted.
It is disheartening to hear the same old warnings given to students by the administration when their behaviors continue to be publicly repeated and flaunted in social media. But perhaps, we may have reached the tipping point. One of the only heartening aspects of this is that some Cal Poly students are protesting and asking for action to remedy these continuing displays of bigotry and intolerance. In addition, we will have to wait and see if university President Jeffrey Armstrong’s suspension of greek life is a prop or if it will actually have a positive impact.
As a local chapter of a national Jewish organization that strives to build a more just society, we are compelled to speak up and say we won’t turn away or be silent with these attacks to members of our community and to our democracy. Cal Poly, you can do better and the community is here to support your efforts of inclusion and acceptance of everyone regardless of the race, religion or sexual orientation.
*This letter has been edited for clarity.