Adam Hill sits on the County Board of Supervisors, District Three and was a Cal Poly English lecturer from 1995-2008. Letters to the editor do not reflect the opinion or editorial coverage of Mustang News.
Thanks to the Mustang News for its coverage on the student-led SLO Solidarity movement on the Cal Poly campus.
It’s clear that what’s going on is much more than a response to some bigoted and threatening remarks. The push for greater diversity at Poly has been going on for decades. I taught there for 13 years and it was always a campus priority but rarely one that got the full force and resources it needs.
The students’ experience of feeling unwelcomed or disparaged should not be dismissed as over-sensitivity. If underrepresented students from historically oppressed segments of society are not heard and respected, the make-up and mood of the student body will not change.
And the discussion of diversity should not get sidetracked in a debate about political correctness, because first and foremost, diversity is a critical component of education. The impacts of knowing and learning from people of different backgrounds and with different outlooks, whether in class or in social settings, simply cannot be measured the way course work can be. But these impacts are essential and they are lasting.
Campus politics, like all politics, can been described as an ongoing conversation about values. That conversation can only be constructive and productive as long as it continues and as long as progress is made. So I applaud and am inspired by the students of SLO Solidarity and stand with them not only against hate, but for changes that can edify all of us.
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