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The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School



Cal Poly Student behavior disrespects and downgrades SLO


Photo courtesy of Cal Poly Virtual Tour.

San Luis Obispo High School students are getting fed up with Cal Poly, along with the rest of the community.  Although many students at the College have been respectful and kind to their surroundings, the majority have been partying, disrupting, and skyrocketing the COVID-19 cases in San Luis Obispo.

Many may argue that the tourism and money that Cal Poly brings is worth the parties and disrespect, however, after the “Saint Fratty’s” party in the streets of a cal poly neighborhood, the blatant disrespect has reached an all time high. Along with disrespect, racism at Cal Poly has been known far and wide. Cal Poly is the whitest public university in California, by a lot. “In fall 2017, 54.8 percent of Cal Poly’s student body identified as white, which is the highest mark of any school within the 23-campus CSU system, as well as the 10-university UC system”( Along with the severe problem with student ethnic diversity, Cal Poly has an astonishing amount of sexual assault and rape cases. 20% of the women on campus stated that they have been sexually assaulted while attending school at Cal Poly.

Expressions is going to ask the community and some SLOHS students their thoughts on the disrespectful behavior of Cal Poly students.  We interviewed SLOHS alumni and now Cal Poly student Thomas Prater, SLOHS junior Emma Stoudenmire, and Cal Poly alumni and now SLOHS teacher Scott Nairne. 

  Expressions: After the recent parties and disrespectful disregard of community guidelines for COVID-19, what are some discipline acts that , if you were advisors, would take to ensure a safer and more respectful impact on San Luis Obispo?

SLOHS Junior Emma Stoudenmire: The students at Cal Poly need to be held accountable, it’s disgusting and frustrating that they don’t care. It is not like they are in UCSB where they can have a larger population to be reckless with, but here in SLO whatever they do has a huge impact on the rest of the community here in SLO. This responsibility is large and may seem unfair to these young and energetic people, but it’s the price to pay for coming to a small quiet town. I would be sure to make this very clear to students if I were advisor. 

SLOHS Teacher Scott Nairne:  If a student who is paying to attend college is caught breaking the code, I would expel and send them home to parents, and for more disrespectful acts immediate explusion would be my first and only act, no warnings. 

Cal Poly Sophomore Thomas Prater:  I think the steps Cal Poly administration has taken to limit community transmission have been more than enough. From what I have seen, these have included things such as suspensions and disciplinary probation. You can’t stop people from partying… period. But you can limit it in some regards, which I believe has been Cal Poly’s intent- they’ve been doing a lot to make this community safer, including the abundance of testing they have provided to Cal Poly students and the surrounding community.  

Expressions: In your opinion, do you think that Cal Poly needs shifts in the system for discipline and anti-racism, or do you believe the administration is doing enough already? 

Nairne: No they need a huge cultural shift on student conduct at the school, I would argue that it’s a long time coming, discipline needs to step up. Needs a huge cultural shift. When I was a student 1997 and at this time students had been sexually assaulted all over campus, so the girls would put a red handprint at every place that a woman had been sexually assaulted. I would walk around the corner and see a red handprint everywhere, I was ashamed to be a student there. The administration just covered them up and ignored the whole protest.

Prater: Cultural shifts take time. Look at the demographics of Cal Poly and you’ll understand why this is something the university has struggled with in the past. As a student, I’ve had to take a multitude of training, seminars, and special classes, surrounding anti-racism, diversity, and inclusion. A major part of orientation and WoW week are dedicated to these subjects as well. I wouldn’t say that Cal Poly is doing “enough”, as I believe that you can always do more, but the university is definitely headed in the right direction. 

Stoudenmire: I would want them to volunteer for the community as a mandatory part of the Cal Poly experience. As for the racism on campus, I have seen many tiktoks where CalPoly is known around the US as the “racist campus in the US”. Cal Poly seems to completely ignore and obviously needs to acknowledge the intense problems on campus. 

Expressions:The Sexual assault rates at Cal Poly is 20% of women have experienced sexual assault on campus in 2019, this number is stagering, what are you thoughts on these statistics. 

Nairne: As a male, I am disgusted and embarrassed that these numbers have not changed over years. This obviously needs to change and bring down these numbers, it is also disturbing that many of these cases have not even been reported which means the number in reality could be higher. Cal Poly needs a serious shift in male discipline. 

Prater: It’s sad to see, but it’s a reflection of the broader society. 43% of women and 25% of men have experienced some form of sexual violence in their lifetime. The best way to fix this is through education- by teaching consent at a young age and how to properly respect a person’s boundaries.

Stoudenmire: It’s disgusting, and I’m sure that there is more, I have seen the culture that surrounds Cal Poly. It’s toxic, it really is. If I were an administrator I would get the police involved immediately, and make sure that women feel safe to come forward as well. I would listen and hear what these brave women have to say and take immediate action. Cal Poly needs a serious reality check. 

  Although this article has mainly been focusing on the toxic culture that surrounds Cal Poly, it also has its moments of being the great school it is supposed to be. It has top notch educators and a great Agricultural program for students. Overall, Cal Poly needs a huge cultural shift in it’s respectful behaviour towards the community, and the actions in and surrounding campus, but it also needs recognition for the wonderful education that the teachers there have to offer. 

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