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Update: 4 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 15: 

Cal Poly Students for Quality Education have created a petition, CP: No kicking accepted students out of school for not being able to attend orientation, directed at Vice President of Student Affairs Keith Humphrey and Director of Cal Poly New Student and Transition Programs Andrene Kaiwi-Lenting. Created 20 hours ago, this petition has received 1,315 signatures.

According to university spokesman Matt Lazier, SLO Days and Week of Welcome (WOW) provide a foundation for the Cal Poly experience, making them critical to student success, retention and timely graduation.

“Because Cal Poly believes so strongly in this effort and uses orientation programs to deliver some of our required programming around issues such as safety and sexual assault, students who do not sign up risk having their admission withdrawn,” Lazier said in an emailed statement.

To accommodate for student’s financial needs, the university will work directly with a student to facilitate their participation. Financial aid was built into the budget for both programs therefore students on Pell grants may receive financial assistance or waivers to attend both programs.

A majority of students who are withdrawn from Cal Poly have made the choice to not attend the university and have not taken action, Lazier said. This year, about 30 students had their admission offers withdrawn because they did not sign up. The orientation staff will contact students directly, via email and phone, if they have not signed up.

“In phone calls to those students, most did not sign up because they had decided to not attend Cal Poly and had neglected to inform the university of their other educational plans,” Lazier said. “The number of admissions offers withdrawn this year is on par with past years.”

For those who indicated an intent to enroll, 99.2 percent of students registered for orientation.

For SLO Days, students pay $190 (including on-campus overnight accommodations), and parents or supporters (maximum of two, not including overnight accommodations) pay $145 each.

As of today, 971 students have received a fee reduction or waiver for SLO Days and 852 students have received a fee reduction or waiver for WOW.

Original post: Monday, Aug. 14:

The mandatory registration deadline for Week of Welcome (WOW) is fast approaching for incoming freshmen and transfer students. Failure to register for WOW by Aug. 15 will result in the withdrawal of offers of admission, according to the New Student and Transition Programs website.

These orientation programs have been mandatory since 2015, when the decision was made to promote President Jeffrey Armstrong’s residential campus model, according to Director of New Student and Transition Programs Andrene Kaiwi-Lenting.

“The commitment is to make it all accessible because it’s a really great set of programs to participate in,” Lenting said. “It’s less about being mandatory and more about, ‘This is what you’ve been missing out on and let’s make sure you don’t miss out any more.’”

The initial reservation fee for WOW is $175 and Cal Poly Orientation asks students to bring $25 for extracurricular activities and meals.

Making orientation programs mandatory for all new students this year was criticized recently by the Cal Poly Students for Quality Education. In a Facebook post shared on Aug. 14, the organization described the policy as discriminatory against low-income and non-traditional students.

“We need to rethink this idea of an Orientation/Party week to make it inclusive/accessible for ALL Cal Poly students,” the organization said. 

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