Cal Poly holds diversity sessions so students can voice concerns

Cal Poly Diversity 2

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - Thursday was the last day for Cal Poly students to participate in a group listening sessions that gives minority and non-minority students a chance to voice their thoughts on the diversity challenges that Cal Poly is facing.

Fifty different sessions were scheduled and were based on different student populations.

The listening sessions were lead by diversity consulting specialist Cal Poly hired in hopes to put an end to their ongoing diversity challenges.

“At least they are listening to us. They have a team of professionals sitting there validating and not questioning our experiences,” said Cal Poly student Ariana Afshar.

Students like Martina Odusanya felt the sessions gave students a chance to suggest tangible solutions to the issues they face.  

“We talked about how we would like to see more specific ethnic housing because we have themed housing. Being able to say I want to live in an Afro house, or I want to live in a Latin X house to further have people as a freshman be able to acclimate easier knowing that you are in a more diverse hall with people who look like you,” said President of Black Student Union Martina Odusanya 

The groups ranged from black student groups, to women groups, to groups of athletes, and many more.
Odusanya says she doesn't feel any results on the part of the administration's efforts thus far.

But other students say they feel the effects.

“I think part of it is working because we are all talking about it. We are aware of it, we are conscious now about our actions and our words and where our thoughts are going,” said Cal Poly student Ali Alvarez.

Each session was an hour long and students were given three questions they had to provide written responses to. Then the group discussed the questions together. 

“It was kind of frustrating listening that other colored students go through the same struggles that we all go through at the school but at least the conversation is happening that the school is looking at what is wrong with not only the school but the community too,” said  Cal Poly student Ariana Afshar.

Cal Poly has invested over $240,000 in a partnership with hired diversity specialist Damon Williams. Students hope the attention and financial resources the school has invested will translate to no longer seeing things like the Black Face scandal or the noose scandal that they saw earlier this year. 

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