No arrests at Yiannopoulos riot; Cal Poly president proud of campus response
Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong issued the following statement Wednesday, saying he was proud of the way the campus community responded:
Last night three very different events took place on our campus - Unite Cal Poly, part of our annual Week of Inclusion celebration; a presentation by Milo Yiannopoulos, a speaker who has a reputation for making statements that can be offensive and hurtful; and a protest of Mr. Yiannopoulos' speech.
I am proud of our campus community for engaging in these events in a relatively peaceful and respectful manner. I am especially proud of those who participated in the Unite Cal Poly event and those who chose to ignore Mr. Yiannopoulos' speech and divisive language. We demonstrated well how differing thoughts and ideas can be expressed, considered and even opposed in a healthy and constructive manner.
I would also like to thank Cal Poly's Office of University Diversity and Inclusion, Student Affairs and our University Police Department, among many others, who helped ensure the safety and wellbeing of our campus community.
As I reflect on last night's events, I want to make it clear that our ideals and values as a campus are much larger than any one speaker or single evening of activities. My primary responsibility as the president of our university is the wellbeing, development and, ultimately, the success of our students. This all-important objective requires an inclusive campus where the variety of perspectives and cultures represented by our students, faculty and staff are respected, embraced and celebrated. I am committed to taking the steps necessary to ensure that our campus embodies inclusive values. A collective commitment to these ideals results in a healthy campus culture that serves as the foundation of a successful learning environment.
There are times when the things we value most will be challenged. There will be occasions when others may hurt, offend or seek to undermine us and what we believe in and represent. The measure of strength and character is in how one responds. I ask that you join me and stand up to hateful and divisive language by strengthening your resolve and commitment to a campus culture built upon mutual care, concern and respect.
While we must support freedom of speech, I reject any language intended to hurt or create a sense of unease among our campus community members, divide our university or undermine our ideals. For those who were hurt by the language and actions last night and leading up to the event, please know that I support you and value you as members of our university.
Difficult times can serve as powerful catalysts for change and progress. Each of us holds the power to respond to negativity with positive change. Please join me in recommitting yourself to a welcoming and inclusive campus environment at our university. In doing so, we will make Cal Poly a better place together.