Following last Saturday’s roof collapse at St. Fratty’s Day, Cal Poly hosted an open forum Thursday in the Multi-Activity Center to discuss how student behaviors impact the community.
President Jeffery D. Armstrong, Vice President for Student Affairs Keith Humphrey and Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) President Joi Sullivan led the discussion.
“I’m really grateful that our community came out in large numbers to share their thoughts,” Humphrey said. “We have very complex issues that intertwine and overlap, and I think we need to continue to engage in a dialogue to arrive at resolutions that make Cal Poly a stronger community.”
St. Fratty’s Day gained international attention after an off-campus roof collapse left nine people injured. The university plans to investigate the cause of the incident and decide the appropriate response. The purpose of Thursday’s forum was to facilitate a conversation among students, administration and those outside of the Cal Poly community who may have been impacted.
Sullivan began the discussion with her initial response when she heard the news. According to Sullivan, she has felt confused, angry, frustrated and concerned about the situation.
“So easily we could’ve lost one person of this community,” Sullivan said. “We could’ve lost 20.”
Below are five of the most popular points brought up as the conversation continued.
1) There is a need for more conversation between the students and the administration.
“There needs to be more communication,” civil engineering senior Alex Thomas said. “We want our voices to be heard and we want to be able to be understood.”
“We almost feel a little bit persecuted as greek life when we don’t have that direct, human-contact conversation, which facilitates a better relationship in general,” biochemistry junior and Delta Sigma Phi engineering leadership chair Eric Winkler said.
2) The increase in enrollment rates has left students scrambling to find off-campus housing, which may be in poor conditions.
One student said, “I think this speaks to the sorry conditions students live in near campus … If Cal Poly truly cares about the welfare of their students, more should be done to help them, even if they are living off campus.”
3) Relations between students and the San Luis Obispo community need to be improved.
One student said, “I think it’s the city’s responsibility to step up and take the first step in working with the students of Cal Poly. Nevertheless, as long as we are doing crap like this, causing a lot of ruckus and causing the city tons of money in order to clean up mistakes we made at parties, they’re never going to want to work with us.”
4) It is important to care and look out for one another to avoid incidents such as the roof collapse from happening in the future.
“A common theme keeps coming up about caring for each other, caring for ourselves, our community and our organizations,” kinesiology professor Camille O’Bryant said. “But I want to encourage us all to take it a layer deeper and acknowledge our privileges.”
5) Student residents in surrounding areas need to have respect for the families that live in those neighborhoods.
“It’s a really sad situation when you are trying to bring up a family, and several times a week you come out and there are the red or blue infamous cups all over the neighborhood, and there is defecation in your yard and your children are frightened for their own safety,” neighbor Linda Garcia said.
“We consider Cal Poly as our extended family, and we get offended, basically, when our extended family defecates in our yard or wakes us up at 5:30 a.m. drunk. We’re hurt,” neighbor Sharon Whitney said.
Sullivan concluded the forum by mentioning the importance of looking to the future.
“So many of the comments that were said today were conscientious of the complex situation that we are facing and optimism looking forward,” she said.