Education

Cal Poly lifts Greek life suspensions over racist photos as new school year begins

Cal Poly students speak out against racism at emergency town hall meeting

Cal Poly students gathered for an emergency town hall meeting in San Luis Obispo on Monday, April 9, 2018, to speak out against racism after a fraternity posted racially insensitive photos of members in blackface and gang costumes online.
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Cal Poly students gathered for an emergency town hall meeting in San Luis Obispo on Monday, April 9, 2018, to speak out against racism after a fraternity posted racially insensitive photos of members in blackface and gang costumes online.

A blanket suspension of Cal Poly fraternities and sororities over racist incidents within the Greek community last spring has been lifted by President Jeffrey Armstrong heading into the new school year.

Armstrong announced the suspensions in April following outrage and protests over racist photos from a Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity party, which showed one member in blackface and others dressed up as gang members.

University spokesman Matt Lazier said the interim suspension was put in place to give the school’s Interfraternity Council fraternities and Panhellenic sororities “the opportunity to step back, examine their organizations and develop specific educational plans for how they will make diversity and inclusion a fundamental part of the fabric of Greek Life.”

Lazier confirmed the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity remains on probation until spring 2019.

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In an April 14, 2018, photo, Cal Poly students protest the blackface incident involving a white member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. Laura Dickinson ldickinson@thetribunenews.com

Additionally, all IFC fraternities and Panhellenic sororities were required to submit “inclusion plans” to Student Affairs leadership, Lazier said, and all chapters and the council have created a “diversity and inclusion officer” position.

“Greek Life organizations will continue to work with Student Affairs leadership to enhance, refine and implement these plans,” Lazier said.

The suspensions did not apply to Cal Poly’s cultural fraternities and sororities, which are governed separately by the United Sororities and Fraternities Council.

The first day of fall term is Sept. 20.

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Get a sneak peek inside the $200 million yakʔityutyu dorms under construction Cal Poly in February 2018. The facility will open in fall with 1,475 students, and it includes seven residential buildings, an office building and a parking structure.

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