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Pulled newspaper ads at center of Cal Poly controversy

ASI, Cal Poly

The company running dining options on the Cal Poly campus is facing criticism after pulling its advertising from the university's student newspaper.

The Cal Poly Corporation made the move shortly after the paper ran a story about a lack of nutritional options for students. Mustang News published the piece last month about a recent university study that said Campus Dining offers few healthful entrees (12 percent). 

The paper's Editorial Board criticized Campus Dining this week for pulling its ads and said the Cal Poly Corporation is 'sending a message of authoritarian control.'

Paul Bittick is the paper's General Manager and said he can't say that move was out of retaliation. "To an outsider, the timing, it would be very easy to think that. But I've been guaranteed by Ellen [Curtis] that that was not the thinking behind it, so I have to hope and believe that's the case. "

Ellen Curtis, Director of Marketing and Communications for Cal Poly Corporation told KCBX in an email an overall marketing evaluation is underway since the study found a lack of communication with students about nutrition, and was the underlying reason for the ad pull.

Megan Coats is a Registered Dietician with Campus Dining and says, to no fault of the researchers, the model used in the study is limiting.

"For instance, our nutrition calculator, which is information online, it's not conclusive of everything on campus. I don't list every single vegetable we offer on campus, I couldn't do that," said Coats.

Curtis said Campus Dining is still advertising online and the Corporation's University Store is advertising in print as well.

The pulled-ads were the paper's biggest account.

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