“If this means for campus, that (administration is) willing to take the steps, then I am happy to be a part of it,” civil engineering junior Alian Ali said. “But of course this is not the end result, so I hope this is not the last we see from the Cal Poly administration.”
The march is a time for Cal Poly to come together as a community, Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong said in his opening statements before the march.
“We can have disagreements, but put hate aside; we can speak our mind, but put hate aside,” Armstrong said. “Now join us in this march of unity and solidarity for love and caring on this campus. No place for hate.”
Led by Armstrong, the march started at the library and continued to the University Union (UU) Plaza at 11 a.m. today while students chanted “2, 4, 6, 8! End violence, end hate!”
As people filled the plaza, the SLO Solidarity movement gathered on the UU Plaza steps chanting, “We received a threat, what don’t you get?” In light of the death threat, Armstrong said that this is the time to focus on unity and that one of the major goals for this campus is to enhance diversity and campus climate.
A large number of faculty and staff have shown support for this movement, especially Armstrong, a member of SLO Solidarity and sociology junior Malcolm Mills said.
“It’s unfortunate that it had to take a death threat to get the action done so quickly, but I’m glad something did get done,” Mills said. “I may not be in majority, but I actually think that Armstrong has been a proponent of diversity and he has been making this his main issue since day one.”
SLO Solidarity’s first march was after the protest for the Free Speech Wall where less than 100 students showed up. However, several times as many students, faculty and staff were present at the march today, SLO Solidarity member and psychology junior Kristin Lee said.
“I can feel the support. I can see the support,” Lee said. “No matter how many hate comments we get, there will be that one supportive comment that helps us keep going and lets us know that we are doing something good.”
Based off the numbers at the march today, Cal Poly can see what students in SLO Solidarity are working toward, SLO Solidarity member and agricultural communication junior Isamar Hernandez said.
“Hopefully with the level of people out here, they can understand a little better that this is what we want,” Hernandez said. “We want to be a part of this campus and we want to feel like we are home here.”
Photos and additional reporting by Andrew Epperson. Video by Michelle Logan.