Eric Stubben is a mechanical engineering junior and Mustang News conservative columnist. | Ian Billings/Mustang News

Eric Stubben

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Eric Stubben is a mechanical engineering junior and Mustang News conservative columnist. These views do not necessarily reflect the opinion or editorial coverage of Mustang News.

Dear California State University (CSU) Chancellor Timothy White,

I’ll be honest, I never paid much attention to the CSU school system until I made the decision to come to Cal Poly nearly three years ago. But since I started paying attention, I’ve rarely heard good things from CSU administration.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love Cal Poly. I love the people around me, I love the organizations I’m involved with and I love the opportunities I’m presented. But Mr. White, I can’t help but think you don’t care about any of that. From insisting Cal Poly adopt the semester system to Executive Order 1068 — requiring open club membership — your policies have done nothing to help further the success of Cal Poly or its students.

For now I want to focus on Executive Order 1068. The meat of the document reads as follows: “No campus shall recognize any fraternity, sorority, living group, honor society, or other student organization that discriminates on the basis of race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, color, age, gender, marital status, citizenship, sexual orientation, or disability.” Mr. White, I’m sure you already know that.

Seems harmless, right? It’s a perfect, progressive, Nobel Peace Prize-winning order, isn’t it?

For most clubs on campus, this statement is completely reasonable … at least when it applies to club attendance and membership. Of course anybody can attend a club meeting, speak their mind and share their ideas. The problem lies within the next piece of the order that demands nondiscrimination be carried into club leadership positions as well.

Mr. White, clubs exist on college campuses because they offer students a place to meet and share ideas with peers who have common interests. This open membership — or “all comer,” as some call it — policy defeats the purpose of clubs. A meeting place for people of diverse backgrounds to share ideas is called a “classroom.” It’s quite a novel concept. Rather than look for diversity within clubs, we should look for diversity between clubs.

If you haven’t read the article published last week by Aja Frost, I recommend you read it now for two reasons. First of all, it’s a very well-written, thought-out article that displays the talent you shouldn’t be tampering with here at Cal Poly. Secondly, Aja’s article portrays herself as the type of person whom this executive order is trying to help — yet even she believes the ruling is unfair.

The big question I can’t seem to answer is this: What do we have to gain from this executive order? It was already against CSU regulations (not to mention unethical) for clubs to discriminate against people who attend their meetings. If a leadership position requires a further commitment or requirement to continue the progress or success of a club then so be it, as long as it’s reasonable.

A Christian organization relies on the faith of its leaders to uphold moral and religious standards. Is it unfair for the leadership position to require a statement of faith to promote the well-being of the club? The organization is not discriminating on any means of race, gender, disability or any other factor besides commitment to one’s faith. I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that is completely reasonable.

In Aja’s article, your director of public affairs, Mike Uhlenkamp, recommended clubs use criteria such as skills tests or attendance records as qualifications for leadership positions.

Skills tests or attendance records…

When I first read this, I pictured a first-grade teacher grading students on a scale of one through five while checking the attendance sheet as the students put together a few pattern blocks. But assuming your office is serious about these recommendations, let me combat them.

Is it not true that I could attend every Cal Poly Democrats club meeting for an entire year? Sure it is … I’m sure they wouldn’t mind me tagging along to add some spice to their discussions. Yet, by CSU logic, I could throw my conservative motives out the door for one skills test at the end of the year and get my name in the ring for a leadership position in the Cal Poly’s Democrats club. Not only would that be counterproductive to the club and its values, but to our school as well. This just demonstrates one club; in the grand scheme of things, it could happen to anyone.

Mr. White, let me give you one last glance into how your executive order is harming our campus here at Cal Poly and others in the CSU system. Last month, CSU derecognized all InterVarsity organizations in the system. Just last week, Cal Poly’s own San Luis Obispo Campus Crusades for Christ (Cru) was derecognized as well. What good does this do for our campus, Mr. White?

San Luis Obispo’s Cru’s goal is as follows: “to give every student the opportunity to hear the good news of Jesus Christ.” They are more than accepting of people of all religions, races, sexual orientations or any other discriminatory factor. Just because they ask their leaders to sign a statement of faith, they are now derecognized, hindered in their ability to achieve their goal. What good does this do for our campus?

Over time, clubs will adjust and your order will be set in stone, but that still doesn’t make it right. Mr. White, I question your motives and morals behind signing off on this executive order and ask you to go back and reevaluate them.

With all due respect,

Eric Stubben

Join the Conversation

4 Comments

  1. It is critical, moving forward, that CSU student organizations start working as a unified voice for comprehensive change on this issue. Individually we can try to enact change, but unified we can have a stronger voice.

    A CSU-wide organization was launched to unite advocacy efforts on removing or revising this “open membership” policy.

    Check out http://www.CSUSOFA.org to learn more about this issue or to join the coalition.

    1. No thanks, I don’t have any interest in funding merit or belief based groups.

      PS. You need a better writer for the website.

  2. Excuse my ignorance. What does ‘No campus shall recognize’ mean? A campus is a geographic entity, not an educational entity. What I am getting at is: what difference does it mean to a club if it is, or is not, recognized by the Cal Poly administration? Does it mean money? access to facilities? ability to recruit/advertise on campus? What? If I wanted to start a club that was ‘controversial’, meaning political or questioning of the dominant paradigm, I would prefer to not be ‘approved’ or accepted by the school administration. Maybe somebody could educated this clueless campus outsider.

    1. Actually…you hit it right on the head. Those are the benefits of being associated with the campus. And if you dont want to be approved, that’s fine! No one will stop you haha. But this goes down to whether the state should fund groups that discriminate membership. They’ve said no.

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