Two girls kicked in window screens and yelled the N-word in the Foxen building of Poly Canyon Village late on Saturday, Oct. 23, students reported.
The girls, who appeared drunk according to student witnesses, started by kicking in window screens near the elevators on the first, second and third floors and then kicked in another screen across the building while yelling the racial slur. It’s not confirmed whether the girls were Cal Poly students.
City and regional planning sophomore Cassidy Charles saw the incident from across the Foxen building’s courtyard in her friends’ room and reported it to the Cal Poly Police Department around 11:14 p.m.
The girls kicked in four screens — one on both the first and second floors and two on the third floor. Charles and her friends watched them kick in three screens across the building and were situated directly underneath the fourth screen.
“They started kicking the elevator [across the courtyard] and were like ‘Oh, we have to get out of here, we have to leave,’” Charles said. “They left, and then thirty seconds later, the screen directly above [our] room dropped right in front of us and they yelled very clearly the N-word with the hard ‘R.’”
The three students decided to call the police and inform them of the incident but no police report was filed. The students also said they couldn’t identify the people clearly from across the courtyard.
“University Housing did not receive any reports around any incident” matching this description, according to University Spokesperson Matt Lazier.
In an email to Mustang News, Lazier said the Cal Poly Police received a call of a possible vandalism late Saturday night and that an officer responded and found some screens were not in place on a few windows. However, he said that there was no actual damage or vandalism and that further investigation did not identify any responsible parties or show evidence that anyone specifically was targeted.
Cal Poly Police decided not to file a report for the incident.
Charles said she felt strong emotions after viewing and hearing what happened.
“I mostly was just in shock because you hear about racist stuff happening here all the time and when you actually see it, it’s like ‘Jesus Christ,’” Charles said.
A student who was in the room with Charles and wished to remain anonymous for privacy concerns agreed.
“I feel like I’ve always just read about [racist incidents] and reading about it doesn’t really provide as much info as actually witnessing it. I was just shocked more than anything,” he said.
Poly Canyon Village is mostly made up of sophomores’ apartments. The anonymous student has felt that current sophomores did not receive adequate bias training during last year’s Week of Welcome (WOW) that current freshmen have received.
“I ended up going through WOW as a WOW leader and did all of this training and I go, ‘damn, second-years didn’t do any of this,’” he said. He recommends that Cal Poly “talk to second years and [give them] the same training.”
Charles doesn’t believe the university can change people’s stances on race.
“People who come here already have their preconceived notions, their opinions. I don’t think the school can make someone not racist or not aggressive,” Charles said.
Since there’s no way of knowing whether the girls are Cal Poly students, Charles doesn’t believe that Cal Poly has responsibility for them.
“I think it’s just the school’s job to react appropriately when things like this happen,” Charles said. “I know a couple of years ago there was a Blackface incident and the school didn’t really do anything about it. It just creates an environment where students feel like it’s okay and they can get away with things like this.”