UPDATE: Cal Poly spokesperson Matt Lazier said Thursday that the bathrobe tie found last weekend was discovered by a student, who then alerted a resident advisor.
“There was no other information with the tie to indicate what it was meant to be,” Lazier said.
University Housing and those with the Office of University Diversity and Inclusion have reportedly met with Santa Lucia residents.
Due to the lack of additional information, Lazier says the university has looked into the matter as much as possible.
ORIGINAL STORY: The Cal Poly University administration alerted students to a situation involving a bathrobe found tied in the shape of a noose in a residence hall.
According to the email sent to students Wednesday, the tie was found last weekend at the Santa Lucia residence hall. The tie was looped and tied in a shape that resembled a noose but the administration said it is unclear if the tie was meant to represent a noose or if it was intended to target certain groups.
President Jeffry Armstrong addressed students Wednesday night saying the situation will be taken seriously.
“I find it heartbreaking and unacceptable that any member of our campus lives in fear and pain – and yet that is the reality for some of our students, faculty and staff,” said Armstrong.
The letter did not outline if or how the school is investigating the matter.
Armstrong said the noose could be an indicator that someone is struggling with mental health, although staff do not know if the tie was left with an intent or purpose.
He urged students who are struggling with mental health to get in touch with school resources.
The Office of University Diversity and Inclusion has been meeting with people across Cal Poly about campus climate and Armstrong said it will continue to do so.
The message in its entirety reads as follows:
Dear Campus Community:
I am writing today to alert the campus to a situation that occurred last weekend in one of our residence halls. A bathrobe tie was found in the laundry room at the Santa Lucia residence hall that was looped and tied in a shape that resembled a noose. It is unclear what, if anything, the bathrobe tie was meant to represent or if it was intended to target members of our community.
Regardless, this is a situation we take seriously, and it provides an opportunity to talk about two important issues: our campus climate and student mental health.
From a climate perspective, we are reminded that we have much work ahead of us in our ongoing effort to create a safe and welcoming environment for all members of our community. I also want to underscore that pain can be inflicted on others both intentionally and through racial ignorance. In either case, both are acts that significantly impact others and hurt valued members of our community. I find it heartbreaking and unacceptable that any member of our campus lives in fear and pain – and yet that is the reality for some of our students, faculty and staff. I struggle to understand what kind of person intentionally hurts others or treats them in a way that forces them to live in fear. It is simply disgusting, ignorant and wrong. That kind of behavior is antithetic to our values and does not belong at Cal Poly.
The Office of University Diversity and Inclusion (OUDI) is meeting with constituents from across campus and is working to create community where students, faculty and staff can come together, engage in conversation and support one another. This ongoing effort will continue as long as there is a need.
Let me also take a moment to discuss mental health. As I mentioned, we do not know if the bathrobe tie was left with some sort of intent or purpose. If it indicates an individual is struggling with mental health issues, we urge that person to talk with someone. If you or someone you know is dealing with depression, thoughts of suicide or other mental health concerns, please talk with us. We have many resources on campus to help. Students in Santa Lucia can contact their Coordinator of Student Development (CSD) Rachel Smith at rsmith81@calpoly or 805-756-5631. Additionally, counseling services are available for all students 24/7 at 805-756-2511.
Jeffrey D. Armstrong