October: Racism protested
Diversity became the buzzword of the year after a noose and confederate flag were found hanging from the balcony of the on-campus student resident crop house. A protest, forum and diversity initiatives added to the curriculum are just some of the effects stemming from the incident.
Cal Poly students turned out in record numbers to help swing California’s 55 electoral votes toward Barack Obama. Obama went on to win and became the United States’ first African-American president. Students also voted heavily against Proposition 8, the proposal to ban gay marriage, however, the proposition was passed and upheld by the Calif. Supreme Court in May.
November: Heartbreaking loss dealt to Cal Poly
The Cal Poly football team came within three missed extra points of upsetting bowl-bound Wisconsin on Nov. 22, 2008 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison.
Cal Poly senior wide receiver Ramses Barden caught a 25-yard touchdown pass on the first play of overtime and the Mustangs never trailed before the final play of overtime, falling 36-35.
November/ December: Three student deaths in two months
Just weeks after the death of Cal Poly senior and member of Gamma Phi Beta, Frances Chang, two more student deaths within several days of each other devastated campus in December.
Architectural engineering freshman Carson Starkey died after allegedly being hazed at a Sigma Alpha Epsilon pledge event.
Mechanical engineering sophomore Favian Mora died in his on-campus apartment two days later from a bacterial infection.
March: College Based Fees
Over two days in March, Cal Poly students overwhelmingly voted in favor of increasing College Based Fees over the next three years. Out of the 47 percent of students who voted, 78 percent voted in favor of it. However, the California State Chancellor’s Office requested Cal Poly President Warren Baker to postpone his decision until the state budget was finalized. The fee raise remains in limbo.
May: ASI elections
Cal Poly art and design senior Kelly Griggs won the Associated Students Inc. presidential election, triumphing over two other candidates with just over 1,800 votes. Less than 25 percent of the student body turned out to vote, down more that 7 percent from last year.
May: Baseball team makes playoffs
The Cal Poly baseball team solidified its first ever Division I playoff berth in May. The Mustangs finished third in the competitive Big West Conference and a Top 25 ranking in the final regular season poll.
Cal Poly would fall to Oral Roberts and Kent State in the Tempe Regional ending the season with a 37-21 record.
May: Student arrests
Four Cal Poly students, all members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, were arrested in connection to the death of Carson Starkey. Two students were charged with felonies and misdemeanors and two students were charged with felonies. All four students posted bail the same day.