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Unfree speech

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Dear Cal Poly students who are also members of the SLO Peace Coalition, I see you're under investigation from the Cal Poly Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities for protesting against Military Industrial Complex lifetime achievement award-winner Raytheon during the April 19 Cal Poly Career Fair. Want to know why you're in trouble? Huh? Do you? It's because you did it all wrong. You wouldn't be in trouble right now if you'd simply wore blackface.

According to Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong, Kyler Watkins, the Lambda Chi Alpha frat boy and Cal Poly student who wore blackface, was simply exercising his freedom of speech. But you little granola-crunching, tree-hugging, commie peaceniks who disrupted a career (Not job! Career!) fair, you little upstarts are on double secret probation!

Raytheon—the company behind the $1.4 million-each Tomahawk missile, of which President Donald "I'll Get Us Out of These Stupid Wars ... Not!" Trump lobbed a cool 50 or so last month at Syria (Are we at war with Syria? Who can keep track! Anyway, bye bye $70 million!)—reportedly pays Cal Poly annually to be a "career partner" and had a booth to recruit new little warmongers. How dare the SLO Peace Coalition interfere with one of Cal Poly's revenue streams! Why, the nerve! The unmitigated gall of these learn-by-spewing free speechers! Come on guys, how is Cal Poly supposed to milk those war teats if students are protesting them?

So what terrible transgression did these protesters engage in? Did they upend Raytheon's table like Jesus in the temple with the money changers? Did they accost students and forcibly stop them from picking up one of Raytheon's "Join us and learn how to blow people up halfway around the world" brochures? Did they put daisies into the barrels of Cal Poly Police officers' 9mms? No, they marched into the career fair with a sign that read "DIVEST FROM WAR STOP THE WAR MACHINE" and then for about 15 minutes sang, "I'm proud to be a student but we see right through your greed/ You're killing all across the world for that war money/ But we proudly rise up until you put your weapons down/ when the people of the world unite we will do what's right," and then they yelled their demand for Cal Poly to divest from war companies.

Actually, while I'm giving you kids advice, recruit an English major or two to help with your lyrics. And nothing personal, but get a few Cal Poly choir members to join up. Y'all are way out of tune!

That said, you eight activists who were part of that protest and who are now apparently under investigation by a university that apparently can't hold rapists and racists accountable, you should be proud of yourselves! Instead of investigating you and threatening sanctions against you for engaging in what was clearly a peaceful, non-violent, anti-war protest, Cal Poly should be giving you awards, scholarships, and bumper stickers for your parents' cars: "Proud Parent of a Poly Peacenik."

Instead, according to students involved, Cal Poly claims the protesters violated the university's Student Code of Conduct for an unpermitted sign as well as willfully and substantially disrupting university business. Blackface? That's free speech! Protesting the war machine? You're in trouble now, you little do-gooders! Whoever at Cal Poly decided this was the correct course of action, please slap yourself right upside your head. You're an idiot. Go investigate who's writing the N-word in university bathrooms or actually do something about the student who has multiple—as in more than one, from more than one person—sexual assault allegations lodged against him!

Don't worry though, Cal Poly spokesman Matt Lazier said, "There were no arrests associated with the protest, nor were any criminal charges submitted to the District Attorney's Office."

Well, I didn't really think either of those things was warranted, but um, thanks for the clarification.

Not to name names or insinuate insinuations, but there's this guy named William Swanson who used to be Raytheon's CEO. He's currently a member of Armstrong's leadership cabinet and the chair of the Cal Poly Foundation. Swanson also donated $10 million to the Cal Poly golf team, so don't you peaceniks get any ideas about carrying unauthorized signs around on the green—I can see arrests and criminal charges in your future.

And on a quick side note, it turns out that SLO County Assessor Tom Bordonaro's challenger, former employee David Boyer, was right about Bordonaro's shoddy attendance record at work. Looks like he spends more time with a fishing rod than the tax code.

Bordonaro, who's confined to a wheelchair and has suffered health problems and surgeries, claims that though illness kept him from coming into the office, he's kept up with his work. Eleven current and former employees—that's a lot of corroboration—beg to differ. They say Bordonaro's time at "the ranch" has affected the office and how it operates.

At what point should Bordonaro—who's made more than $2 million in taxpayer money during his 16-year tenure as assessor—decide that he can't do the job justice? Who's in charge over there, anyway? You are. But the performance evaluation only comes every four years! The only one who can hold people in elected office accountable is you. So do your thing, electorate. Yes, I'm talking to you. Get your ass off the couch and vote! Δ

The Shredder must shred, couch or no couch. Send ideas and comments to shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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