Cal Poly administration gets an incomplete on its inclusivity proposal

Cal Poly’s SLO Solidarity group holds a rally in early December.
Cal Poly’s SLO Solidarity group holds a rally in early December. nwilson@thetribunenews.com

In lieu of a big fat brickbat, we’ll give Cal Poly administrators an incomplete for failing to meet their self-imposed deadline for responding to demands presented by SLO Solidarity — demands that include more diversity training and education programs; creating gender-netural residence halls and restrooms; increasing funding for social programs for underrepresented students; and establishing department leaders in diversity.

Poly administration initially said it would release a plan to improve campus diversity and tolerance by the end of fall quarter, which wrapped up Dec. 12. But the 12th came and went with no proposal. Instead, President Jeffrey Armstrong sent out a letter saying, in part, “It is now clear that we need more time.”

That’s understandable — it doesn’t make sense to rush something into print, so to speak — but we wonder how far a student would get with a similar line, as in: “Sorry, professor, but it’s become clear to me that I need more time to finish that report you assigned four weeks ago.”

We just hope the delay doesn’t drag on, especially because Cal Poly administrators were already working on a plan even before SLO Solidarity presented its list of demands.

That being the case, a three-week extension sounds about right. After that, we start recording brickbats in our gradebook.

Plight of refugees a valuable lesson

We deliver humanitarian bouquets to Laguna Middle School teachers Marc Townsend and Lauren Knuttila and extra-credit corsages to their seventh-grade students.

As reported in Tuesday’s Tribune, the two teachers scrapped a unit on West African empires of the 12th through 16th centuries to focus instead on modern-day refugee crises in several countries. The lessons culminated in an open house where students shared information via posters, websites and other displays. The information provided included tips on how Central Coast residents can help refugees. Students also raised hundreds of dollars by wrapping gifts and selling white ribbons — money that was donated to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

This valuable lesson is likely to stay with these students for the rest of their lives. We commend Laguna Middle School for making it happen.

Bouquet for life-saving dog

No bones about it; a dog who saves her master’s life deserves a hero’s bouquet and a lifetime supply of tennis balls (or whatever her toy of choice may be). We’re talking, of course, about Annie, the Chihuahua/pug mix that likely saved her owner, Kevin Buchanan, from dying in a house fire in Atascadero early Sunday morning.

“She was kind of digging, scratching at my back,” Buchanan told Tribune reporter Nick Wilson. “I woke up and the room was all lit up.”

Buchanan and Annie were not injured, but they are without a permanent home. Sadly, Buchanan may not be able to keep Annie.

“I’m going to be homeless tomorrow, and I don’t want her to freeze to death,” he texted Wilson.

Fond farewell to Camp Hapitok

Big-hearted bouquets and a chorus of “Kumbaya” go to all who had a hand in running Camp Hapitok for the past 45 years.

We, too, are saddened the nonprofit will be unable to continue operating its summer camp for kids with speech and language disorders. Campers got one-on-one speech therapy, in addition to camp “staples” such as nature hikes and arts and crafts projects.

Obviously, there’s a big need for the service, or there wouldn’t be such an outcry over loss of the camp. One Facebook poster put it like this: “These kids are left all summer with no services, and that gap causes them to lose momentum and skills. And an intensive camp where they are doing speech skills all day across all parts of the curriculum can increase skills in a way that half an hour of pull-out time twice a week can’t do.”

We’ve got tremendous respect for the volunteers and nonprofit organizations that provide important services like these. At the same time, it’s disappointing the state of California doesn’t step up and offer more support for kids who would benefit from additional help, particularly during the summer. Even if it can’t offer an overnight camp, how about a day camp? Are you listening, Department of Ed?