San Luis Obispo, Cal Poly work through 'St. Fratty's Day' fallout



Cal Poly and San Luis Obispo received a major black eye in the form of an out-of-control March 7 “St. Fratty’s Day” bash, and both parties are now applying the proverbial icepack and trying to figure out who threw the punch.

On March 13, Cal Poly spokesman Matt Lazier announced in a press release that various investigatory efforts were well underway at the university.

Specifically, Lazier said the Dean of Students’ Office has already “combed photos and social media posts about the event and worked with local public safety agencies to gather information.” He added that the office questioned about 30 students on March 12 in an effort to focus the investigation.

“Our ultimate intent is to determine who is directly responsible for planning this gathering and hold them accountable for creating a safety threat to the participants and the community,” Dean of Students Jean DeCosta said in the release.

Lazier also mentioned that the university plans to bring in independent investigators from other universities to conduct the rest of the investigation and guarantee impartiality.

When contacted for further comment by New Times on March 17, Lazier said he had no updates on the investigation beyond the March 13 release.

From a law enforcement perspective, SLOPD Capt. Chris Staley said his department’s investigation into the March 7 incident is almost complete. As of press time on March 18, Staley said any potential “unruly gathering” criminal charges stemming from the bash have yet to be filed.

Unsurprisingly, the St. Fratty’s Day party was also a prominent subject at the SLO City Council’s March 17 meeting. The council chambers were packed with Cal Poly students and administrators, as well as a bevy of concerned SLO residents.

Though university President Jeffrey Armstrong and a student representative both apologized at the meeting on behalf of the university, the vast majority of speakers at public comment lambasted the Cal Poly community, and many urged the city to crack down on partying in residential neighborhoods adjoining the university.

“I think we haven’t sent a strong enough message to students that partying in neighborhoods is not to be tolerated,” said Carolyn Smith, a representative of the Residents for Quality Neighborhoods organization.

Ultimately, the council didn’t take any immediate action, but directed staff to return for the council’s May 19 meeting with an examination of the existing “toolbox of options” for party regulation, as well as any suggestions for possible new enforcement ideas.

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