Posted: Jan 5, 2010 8:50 PM by Stacy Daniel
Updated: Jan 5, 2010 8:50 PM
A new state law brings up an old controversy on the Cal Poly campus. The newly passed law makes it illegal to display a noose on any school campus. In October of 2008, students living in a university-owned house put up a display. It included a noose.
Because of free speech laws the students were not punished. That's changed now because of the new law. Displaying a noose on a school campus is now a misdemeanor. Punishable by time in jail or a steep fine.
It's an image burned into the minds of many Cal Poly students. Symbols of hate and prejudice hanging outside a campus owned property. The display not only included a noose but also a confederate flag and a sign with racist and anti-gay words written on it. Amanda Cretcher is a fifth year student at Cal Poly. She says," I was pretty horrified. It was a pretty disgusting act, especially for Cal Poly, which, I consider a progressive school. So, I don't know. I would expect more from it's students." Administrators say they could have used a law like this back then. Cal Poly Pro-Vost, Bob Koob says, "We were in effect handcuffed from taking any action."
Students KSBY talked with said the law should have been in the books from the beginning. But they add, it's better late than never. Cal Poly Freshman, Bijan Ghaffari says,"I think that's a step in the right direction because hanging a confederate flag, that might be freedom of speech but, I feel like a noose itself is a threat. It's specifically a threat." Cretcher says,"It's just not a good symbol. It really just brings a lot of bad connotations with it. So, making it illegal is a great choice I think. This is not us. This is just a certain group of students doing what they were doing."
As shocking and hurtful as the display was to some students, many say something good came from it. It forced students to stand up and say racism and intolerance don't fly on the Cal Poly campus.
Students we talked to said it's hard to believe something like this would happen again. But, they say, if it does, it's nice to have a law against it. The ban on nooses stretches beyond school campuses. The new law now makes it illegal to display a noose in workplaces and at parks.
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