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Protest: Students will refuse to shake university president’s hand at graduation

“Due to his negligence and in-action regarding racism, sexism, student homelessness, food insecurity”

Numerous students at California Polytechnic State University this weekend are planning a mini-protest to take place during the school’s graduation, where they will refuse to shake the university president’s hand after receiving their diplomas.

“About 100 students” are “planning to refuse a handshake from President [Jeffrey] Armstrong at this weekend’s ceremony,” local news station KEYT reports.

The protest is meant to signal the students’ displeasure with Armstrong’s leadership on campus. According to one student, there have been “a lot of issues on Cal Poly campus…but this year especially has been bad.”

Another cited Armstrong’s “in-action” on the topics of “racism, sexism, student homelessness, food insecurity.”

From the report:

[Student Kelsey] Zazanis says under Armstrong’s Administration, student fees have increased 60%, and student housing is expected to rise 40% next year, directly impacting homeless and food insecure students. She also points to a sexual assault epidemic on campus.

Graduating seniors say they don’t want to be disruptive, but they also want to send a message.

“He consistently denies student pain and suffering and denies the culture of racism on this campus,” said Zazanis.

The University is aware of the planned protest and says while they are disappointed, they support students’ right to protest and have their voices heard.

“We hope that through this action President Armstrong understands the seriousness of this request that he resign because students have lost hope.  President Armstrong has lost the moral authority to lead this university,” said Zazanis.

According to the university, the students’ “call for increased diversity at Cal Poly is shared passionately by President Armstrong and the entire administration — this has been and will continue to be a priority.”

MORE: Student union activists crash commencement at Ivy League school

Read the whole report here.

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