Cal Poly is hoping students will attend a free concert in Poly Canyon Village this evening as an alternative to the Cal Poly College Republicans’ "Fake News" panel taking place at the Mott Athletic Center.
Protests are anticipated in response to the panel, in part, because controversial political commentator Milo Yiannopoulos is among the panelists.
On Thursday, Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong sent the following letter to students:
Dear Campus Community,
As you know, this evening the Cal Poly College Republicans is hosting a panel on the topic of Fake News. Some of the panelists have taken public positions in the past that I and many in our community find ugly, offensive and hurtful. For many of us, those views rub especially raw given recent episodes of hatred, insensitivity and intolerance here on campus.
That being said, the club has the right to invite speakers of their choosing, and the speakers have the right to speak. A free and open exchange of ideas – even those we may vehemently disagree with – is essential to a university environment, critical thinking and student growth.
Almost as important as free speech is a principle that is not mentioned in the First Amendment, or anywhere in the Constitution, but without which society is not possible: civility. Simply put, civility is the idea of treating others the way we want to be treated, even if our civility is not reciprocated. While I and many others may find offensive the views of those taking part in tonight’s Fake News panel, I ask that you join me in modeling civility, respect and our core values at Cal Poly.
For students who would like an alternative to this evening’s event, I invite you to a concert at Poly Canyon Village featuring the Moonshiner Collective, a magic show, temporary tattoos, and tri-tip sandwiches. The event is free for students with a valid PolyCard, and is sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, the Inter-Housing Council, and ASI.
Jeffrey D. Armstrong