Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong condemned hateful flyers that were placed around campus earlier this week. The flyers included racial statements and statistics about African Americans relating to domestic violence, welfare, homicides and assault.
“As we have said in the past, hate has no place at Cal Poly,” Armstrong wrote in a campuswide email. “We condemn any act intended to intimidate, frighten, harass or hurt a member of our campus community.”
President Armstrong further condemned the ideas represented by the flyers and the effect they can have on students.
“Such actions are borne of ignorance and cowardice and seek to promote division and false narratives rather than empathy and thoughtful discussion — the very ideals for which our university stands,” Armstrong wrote in the email.
While the flyers sourced the 2010 National Crime Victimization Survey, the survey does not in fact provide statistics about the races of those who committed victimizing crime, only listing the races of those victimized.
Psychology and child development professor and Associate Dean for Diversity and Curriculum Jennifer Pedrotti agreed that the flyers have a negative effect on Cal Poly students’ health and well-being.
“We want all students to feel that they are a part of the university and that they belong to the Cal Poly community,” Pedrotti wrote in an email to Mustang News. “Flyers like the ones posted yesterday have the impact of causing some students to feel that they are not wanted on our campus or that the diversity they bring is not valued.”
President Armstrong went on to reiterate the university’s stance on the importance of diversity.
“The Cal Poly family is strengthened and united by our different backgrounds, experiences and cultures,” Armstrong wrote. “It is these differences that make our campus community special — and they are precisely what we should cultivate and celebrate.”
Armstrong ended his email by urging students to be more supportive and inclusive of all people, regardless of their background.
“Please always consider the perspectives of others and treat every member of the Cal Poly family with compassion and humanity,” Armstrong wrote. “In doing so, you will be contributing toward the more kind, supportive and inclusive environment we all desire and deserve.
Pedrotti also provided further comments in regards to any students affected by the message expressed by the flyers.
“We want any students who were harmed by these sentiments to know that we stand with them and support them, and we are glad to have them as a part of our college and university,” Pedrotti wrote.
Mustang News reached out to the Dean of Students and University Communications for more information on how the flyers came to administration attention and how the administration will respond if something similar happens in the future, but received no comment.
University spokesperson Matt Lazier said that although the flyers were hurtful, they do fall under First Amendment protections of free speech.