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Education

Cal Poly Muslim club petitions to recoup security costs

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Stephen Lloyd-Moffett
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A photo from the petition.

A Cal Poly professor is petitioning for the university’s administration to reimburse the campus Muslim Student Association club.

Religious studies professor and MSA club advisor, Stephen Lloyd-Moffett, posted a petition last weekend to reimburse Cal Poly’s Muslim Student Association for almost $5,000. The reimbursement is for security charges the MSA paid for a weekend-long conference the club held last year.

The petition comes in response to the university’s recent security coverage for the Cal Poly College Republicans club when they hosted conservative speaker, Milo Yiannopoulos. Cal Poly provided more than $15,000 in security for the event, while the California State University system contributed almost $40,000 in security costs.

Lloyd-Moffett said the administration handled the Yiannopoulos event well, in regards to freedom of speech, but said the security payments create a double standard for campus clubs.

“If the university can demonstrate their commitment to free speech by allocating 50,000 dollars to the republican event, it seems only fair that they would absorb the cost for $5,000 for Muslims to get together to discuss the current environment,” Lloyd-Moffett said.

The national organization, Muslim Student Association West, held its 18th annual conference at Cal Poly in coordination with the university’s club in January 2016. Cal Poly worked with MSA West to accommodate overnight housing for hundreds of attendees but asked that the campus club pay for 18 percent of the initial security costs.

According to the club transaction report shared by Lloyd-Moffett, the club covered the cost by raising donations from other campus organizations, including the MultiCultural Center and the dean of students. Lloyd-Moffett said that although these costs were covered, the Cal Poly College Republicans were not expected to come up with security money in the same way MSA was.

"I think it’s important for the administration to be consistent," said Lloyd-Moffett. "I think it’s important for the community and for alumni to let the administration know that just doesn’t seem fair.”

Lloyd-Moffett said the university was helpful in holding the MSA conference but he wants Cal Poly to see how a double standard has been set.

Cal Poly communications director, Matt Lazier, said the administration changed its policy in September 2016, and now does not charge student clubs for security costs.

Lloyd-Moffett said the club wants to use the reimbursement money to invite a new speaker to campus to talk about Islam.

The petition is posted on Change.org and has over 1,000 signatures as of Friday afternoon.

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