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Poly pays security fees for Muslim Student Association event

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Cal Poly’s taken a small step toward changing the way it supports vulnerable groups on campus.

That’s according to religious studies professor and advisor to the Cal Poly Muslim Student Association (MSA), Stephen Lloyd-Moffett, who has been calling out the university since Milo Yiannopoulos spoke at the university in January. Cal Poly didn’t charge the College Republicans club, which organized the event, for the event’s security fees ($55,400). But the university had charged the MSA more than $4,000 in security fees for a conference it held on campus in 2016.

Lloyd-Moffett started an online petition in February that attracted nearly 1,300 signatures requesting that the administration pay MSA back for those security charges.

But in a recent email to New Times, Lloyd-Moffett changed his tune.

He said both Cal Poly President Jeff Armstrong and Vice-President Keith Humphrey have attended recent MSA meetings and offered their support to the association.

“They acknowledge the perception of a double standard regarding the security costs as well as the struggles the students of color feel on campus,” Lloyd-Moffett said.

The administration says it will cover the security fees for TED Talk speaker and Muslim studies scholar Dalia Mogahed to come to the university later this month, a gesture Lloyd-Moffett believes has to do with the apparent double standard regarding Yiannopoulos’ security fees.

Mogahed will give her talk titled Islamaphobia: A Threat to All at a free MSA event on April 29 in the Chumash Auditorium from 3 to 5 p.m.

“It will be the best single opportunity our community has to learn about Islam,” Lloyd-Moffet said.

Despite Cal Poly’s waiving seurity fees for Mogahed’s visit, the university is not changing its stance on the technicalities of the prior security fees.

The Cal Poly MSA paid $4,888 in security fees for a three-day, two-night conference on campus in January 2016 that hosted several MSA chapters across the West Coast. Cal Poly spokesperson Matt Lazier told New Times that at the time, the university’s policy was for the campus club to pay for security fees. That policy changed nine months later, around the same time the College Republicans club invited Yiannopoulos to campus.

“As of September 2016, Cal Poly’s practice has been not to charge student clubs for additional security costs related to protests and similar free expression activities,” Lazier said in an email. “As the university has previously stated, there was not a double standard regarding the Milo event and the MSA West conference.”

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