Cal Poly: Stop Threatening Peaceful Protestors, Stop the Free Speech Double Standard

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UPDATE: 11/27/18

Due to overwhelming public support, Cal Poly's Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities formally dropped their investigation of SLO Peace Coalition & stated on the record that our former protest was not in violation of any University policies.

That precedent assumably protected any future protests of the same variety. During our intake meeting, the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities encouraged SLO Peace Coalition to keep protesting and utilizing our freedom of expression. 

Therefore, at the following Career Fair on October 4th, we staged an identical protest to oppose Raytheon’s funneling of arms to Saudi Arabia for the U.S.-backed war on Yemen.

To our surprise and dismay, the same people who cleared our right to protest are now threatening it once again. Our student rights, and our first amendment rights, are being violated to protect the University's violent corporate sponsors. The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities is acting outside of their own judiciary policies. The department tasked with protecting student rights continues to violate them, so the students have nowhere to look for justice. We call upon Cal Poly to protect student rights and end their shameless threats immediately. We need your help!


The Cal Poly Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities is investigating and threatening sanctions against students who participated in a peaceful and nonviolent anti-war protest against Raytheon, a defense contractor, at the Cal Poly Career Fair. Join us in our call for Cal Poly administration to drop the investigation, create a more peaceful campus, and stand up for free speech and our right to non-violent protest!

The SLO Peace Coalition is in the middle of a campaign to get Cal Poly to divest from war and weapons. As a part of our campaign to highlight how the war machine is embedded in Cal Poly, we protested the Raytheon booth at our campus’ career fair.  

On April 19th, 2018, members of the SLO Peace Coalition entered the Cal Poly Career Fair with the intent of peacefully and non-disruptively protesting Raytheon's booth. Raytheon creates many of the weapons used in lethal and illegal killings of innocent civilians across the world. Their employees, many of whom are Cal Poly graduates, make a killing on killing. Just last month, over 50 Raytheon Tomahawk missiles were dropped on Syria by President Trump. Additionally, the chairman of Cal Poly’s Foundation Board is former Raytheon Executive William Swanson. In our action, the SLO Peace Coalition sought to criticize and highlight Raytheon’s role in the war economy, and the billions of dollars spent on war and militarism instead of education, housing, and healthcare.

Approximately two weeks after this protest, SLO Peace Coalition members received an email from the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities alleging that they had violated the University's Student Code of Conduct for an unpermitted sign as well as willfully and substantially disrupting university business. This happened barely more than a week after Cal Poly's administration decided not to sanction someone who did blackface as well as someone who sexually assaulted more than seven people. There have been countless other incidents of bigotry and harassment that have gone unpunished. While we are not sure what the sanctions will be, student peace activists are scared the university will threaten their futures.

Our actions to highlight how war and militarism are impacting our university has resulted in a disproportionate backlash that exemplifies how the war machine is controlling our campus. We have a right to peaceful protest and we will not be silenced.

Please sign our petition to join us in our call for Cal Poly administration to drop the investigation, create a more peaceful campus, and stand up for free speech and our right to non-violent protest!

A live stream of the entire event, start to finish, can be found here:

A video of the second protest can be found here:

More information on the SLO Peace Coalition can be found here: