“Let us be clear, events like these have no place in the Cal Poly community and are not reflective of the principles of The Mustang Way,” Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong and Vice President of Student Affairs Keith Humphrey wrote in an email to campus Tuesday.
Update 6:10 p.m.
At least three social fraternities and sororities are under investigation by the Office of the Cal Poly Dean of Students for a colonial and Native American-themed party held near campus this past weekend, opening the door for university charges of harassment and intimidation, Vice President for Student Affairs Keith Humphrey said Tuesday.
Humphrey declined in an interview to reveal the names of the organizations under investigation until groups face disciplinary action, citing a decision he and University President Jeffrey Armstrong made Tuesday regarding the open investigation. The vice president also said he expects organizations will be added to the list of those under investigation as it continues.
There is no timeline for how long the investigation will take to finish, Humphrey said, because it is, “more complex” than previous investigations into greek life.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if it takes a little bit longer than the community’s used to,” he said.
Based on initial reports from neighbors near the party, which Humphrey said was in the area behind the Cal Poly Health Center, approximately 75 to 100 students wore “offensive” costumes. Those neighbors complained to the Cal Poly Dean of Students, telling Cal Poly officials the men were dressed in colonial attire and women came as “sexually explicit” Native Americans.
A group of Native American faculty also came to student affairs officials Monday and complained about the party, Humphrey said.
In an email to campus Monday, Humphrey and Armstrong decried the party, saying there is no place for events like it in the Cal Poly community.
“It’s very serious,” Humphrey said. “I think its effects on our community are things we can’t even fully put our arms around, and that’s what makes it very disturbing. And we don’t know who something like this will offend, and they’ll choose to never come to Cal Poly, choose to not send their children to Cal Poly.”
Fraternities and sororities will be required to register all parties with the university beginning next quarter as part of an agreement earlier this year to loosen recruitment restrictions in exchange for tighter oversight of greek functions.
Humphrey said there is no pressure to speed up that process after this past weekend’s incident, but added that a party registration system could have prevented it from happening.
In an email to campus Tuesday, Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong denounced a greek social event this past weekend as, “offensive to Native Americans and women in the party’s theme and suggested costumes.”
“Let us be clear, events like these have no place in the Cal Poly community and are not reflective of the principles of The Mustang Way,” Armstrong and Vice President of Student Affairs Keith Humphrey wrote. “Obviously, this was not a university-sponsored event.”
The Office of the Dean of Students, which took over managing greek life this academic year, will investigate the party, according to the email.
Cal Poly will also hold a forum Friday to discuss the impact of similar events in the community.
This post will be updated as more information becomes available.