Armstrong responds to anti-gay vandalism on campus

An anti-gay slur was written on a sign between the Davidson Music building (building 45) and Mott Gym this past week. The sign was reported and taken down on Friday.

An anti-gay slur was discovered on a campus sign last week, prompting Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong to email the campus community about the university’s core values yesterday.

The anti-gay epithet was written on a sign reading “Campus Access” sometime around last Wednesday on a flight of stairs between Mott Gym and the Davidson Music building (building 45) next to Tahoe Road, Cal Poly spokesperson Chip Visci said.

In his email, Armstrong expressed disapproval and appealed to the Cal Poly community to respect each other and celebrate diversity, quoting in part from the Committee on University Citizenship’s statement on commitment to community.

“Cal Poly’s ability to provide a rich learning experience depends on each of us choosing to act with integrity, to show respect and concern for one another, and to ‘promote the benefits of diversity by practicing and advocating openness, respect, and fairness,’” Armstrong wrote.

The sign was reported to the University Police Department on Thursday, and taken down on Friday in time for Parent and Family Weekend.

Currently, Cal Poly has no clue who defaced the sign, and is baffled as to its purpose, Visci said.

“It’s really just stupid, because I don’t even get the point of it,” Visci said.

Speech such as the slur on the sign is not a new phenomenon, though, Visci said.

“Unfortunately, hate-filled speech has been around humanity probably since as long as humans have been able to speak,” Visci said.

Nonetheless, Visci doesn’t see the epithet as a setback in Cal Poly’s stated goals of inclusion and acceptance, he said. Despite hateful language, humanity has always moved forward, Visci said.

This progress includes Cal Poly, Visci said.

“I don’t think one sign and one word should stand in the way of that process,” Visci said.

Victoria Billings contributed to this report.

  • Tim

    What did it say?

  • Zoe Stephens

    While this article is interesting, I found multiple logical fallacies, mainly from Cal Poly spokesperson Chip Visci. He is quoted several times in this article, and I find most, if not all of his statements to be inherently flawed. He opens by saying that “It’s really just stupid, because I don’t even get the point of it,”. I agree that the vandalism was pointless and hurtful, but his statement makes no sense. Just because he may not be able to understand the point of the sign does not mean that it is stupid.
    Secondly, his statement that, “Unfortunately, hate-filled speech has been around humanity probably since as long as humans have been able to speak” is unsupported and frankly, mostly untrue. It is only a recent development in the scope of humanity that homosexuality has been frowned upon and spoken out against. In cultures all over the world throughout history, homosexuality was a normal and accepted part of life. It is only since the turn of the nineteenth century that people began to label and discriminate against homosexuality.
    Lastly, Visci says that “I don’t think one sign and one word should stand in the way of that process.” While this may be his opinion, he fails to recognize and empathize with those who were affected by the hateful vandalism, and proceeds to say that just one little act of hurtful words can’t possibly be detrimental to a whole group or movement. However, it is people like Visci who make it possible for bigots to spread their message and assume authority. By not treating this issue with the importance it deserves, Visci is helping to allow the vandals that hurt innocent people to go unpunished.
    All in all, I find this article to be ineffective and detrimental to the LGBT cause. The Pride Center already works hard enough to try and create an environment of acceptance and equality on the Cal Poly campus, and this type of article and mindset it not helping. If Visci actually cared about those who were affected by the vandalism, he would do something about it instead of letting those who caused this problem sneak away unscathed.

    • Sam

      Zoe-

      You make some very good points, that being said, what do you think Visci could do about it? Any ideas as to what could be done to avoid “Letting those who caused this problem sneak away unscathed?” Obviously they aren’t going to catch the person who did this, so i’m interested in hearing what you think could be done.

      • Zoe Stephens

        While I agree that the vandal could not be identified at this point, I do think more could be done about this situation. As a college, it is the faculty’s responsibility to provide a safe and accepting environment for the students who are PAYING to be here. Having an official for the school go on record saying that “I don’t think one sign and one word should stand in the way of that process,” is, in my opinion, belittling a problem that needs attention. Students who don’t fit the perfect Cal Poly mold are often marginalized here, and the faculty needs to recognize that this is a reality. Visci is essentially saying that those who were affected by the vandalism shouldn’t take it seriously, which is a perfect example of how the minority is, once again, left to deal with adversity on their own. I think that Visci, and our faculty in general, need to make more of effort to create a environment where people of all walks of life feel welcome at Cal Poly. I know President Armstrong sent out an email about being positive and accepting, but how about cracking down on ignorance and hatred? Install more security cameras, make it known that unfair treatment of others is not tolerated here. As it stands, I feel that Cal Poly has been letting this type of behavior slip under the radar for years. Its time to bring some diversity and acceptance into our campus so that our own students are not victimized for being who they are.

  • Mike

    This is a newspaper for people are supposed to be conducting themselves as adults. The contents of the sign should be posted, otherwise every quote about it is just hyperbole.