“We stand in unity against this campus’ brokenness”

This past week, a small group of student involved with Cru wanted to do something – anything – to address the racial issues that have placed Cal Poly in the national media.

An student leader set up a “go fund me” campaign. Within hours, students had donated several hundred dollars towards the outreach. Thousands of pieces of candy were bought, and attached to a small piece of paper with a small, simple message. 


Every day from 11am-12pm in front of the UU and at Dexter Lawn, students and staff interacted with hundreds of students in what they called “free candy from friendly faces.” 


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Students involved with the Cal Poly Cross Culture Center expressed their appreciation to Cru for their public stand against racism and hatred. Of course, this is just another small step towards living out the gospel in every area of lives. But we are so thankful for the initiative and ownership that students took towards trying to change a campus culture. 

The text of the small flyer stated:

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. – Martin Luther King

We stand in unity against the campus’ brokenness. We cry and hurt with you. We unite and give because we care. YOU ARE LOVED. – Cru 


Self education episode opportunities to further educates yourself and understand how to be part of positive and lasting change. 


  • The Liturgists, episode #34. “Black and White: Racism in America” 
  • “Putting Racism on The Table” podcast series by WRAG. 


  • christenacleveland.com: “Listening Well As A Person of Privilege – The Complete Series” 
  • YouTube, Brene Brown on “Empathy”


  • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
  • Befriend by Scott Sauls









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The Ugly Truth of Being a Black Professor in America

In this challenging article from the The Chronicle of Higher Education, Dr. George Yancy shares his experiences as black professor at Emory University. In light of recent events, both locally and nationally, it seemed appropriate to post this. 

The Ugly Truth of Being a Black Professor in America

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By George Yancy April 29, 2018

“Dear Nigger Professor.” That was the beginning of a message that was sent to me. There is nothing to be cherished here, despite the salutation. Years ago, Malcolm X asked, “What does a white man call a black man with a Ph.D.?” He answered: “A nigger with a Ph.D.”

The message came in response to an op-ed I published in The New York Times in December 2015. I’d spent much of that year conducting a series of interviews with philosophers about race. I wanted to hold a disagreeable mirror up to white readers and ask that they take a long, hard look without fleeing. My article, “Dear White America,” took the form of a letter asking readers to accept the truth of what it means to be white in a society created for white people. I asked them to tarry with the ways in which they perpetuate a racist society, the ways in which they are racist. In return, I asked for understanding and even love — love in the sense that James Baldwin used the term: “Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.”

Instead, I received hundreds of emails, phone messages, and letters, an overwhelming number of which were filled with racist vitriol. My university did its important and necessary part — top administrators assured me that my academic freedom was protected. Yet my predicament was not easy. Campus police had to monitor my office. Departmental instructions were clear: No one was to provide any strangers with my office hours. I needed police presence at my invited talks at other universities. It all felt surreal — and dangerous.

This is what it’s like to be the target of racist hatred:

Another uppity Nigger. Calling a Nigger a professor is like calling White Black and Wet Dry.

Even the most sophisticated nigger will revert back to their jungle bunny behavior when excited.

You can dress a Nigger up in a suit and tie and they’ll still be Niggers.

This belief that niggers even reason is blatant pseudo-intellectualism.

For these writers, “nigger professor” is an oxymoron. A nigger is a nigger, incapable of reason. Kant, Hegel, and Jefferson each made similar claims about black people being bereft of rationality. Perhaps I’m just parroting (as Hume said of black people) what I’ve already heard. I’m just a nigger who dared to reason, only to discover that reason is white.

Then entire article can be read here.


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Cru Cal Poly response letter

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Jan 23,24 Veritas Forum video links

Here are links to the January 23-24 Veritas Forum at Cal Poly in the Performing Arts Center:

Tuesday January 23, 2018 at Cal Poly: “What Does It Mean to be Human?” featuring Dr. Josh Swamidass (Washington University, St Louis) and Dr. Ed Himelblau (Cal Poly).

Wednesday January 24, 2018 at Cal Poly: “Are Human Beings Special?” featuring Dr. Josh Swamidass (Washington University, St Louis) and Dr. Hugh Ross (Founder, Reasons to Believe). 

Additional photos of these two events can be found here. Enjoy. 


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Veritas Forum Highlights

IMG_8762January 23th-25th, the Veritas Forum hosted a series of events on campus. Our first night (above) featured Cal Poly Biology professor Dr. Ed Himelblau dialoguing alongside out guest Washington University St. Louis biologist Dr. Josh Swamidass on the question: “What Does it Mean to be Human?” 

IMG_8901Students lining up and coming in to the main auditorium in the PAC. 

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Dr. Swamidass and Dr. Himelblau, along with our moderator, Cal Poly Philosophy Professor Dr. Eleanor Helms. Here’s a link to the video of Swamidass/Himelblau Forum.

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We love this comment from a Cal Poly Materials Engineering Professor who attended: “Several of my students commented about not just what was said, but how it was said. The civility shown by both speakers was outstanding, opening doors for me to talk more with my students about my personal faith in Jesus Christ.”


Students hanging out afterwards.


Talking with Dr. Himelblau . . .


. . . and Dr. Swamidass. 


The following day, Dr. Himelblau invited Dr. Swamidass as a guest lecturer in one of his classes. We appreciate the collegiality that can develop from these Forums. 


This year, the Cal Poly Veritas Forum was extended to two nights. Our second night featured Dr. Josh Swamidass, along with our second guest astronomer Dr. Hugh Ross. Here’s a link to the video of the Swamidass/Ross Veritas Forum. 


Dr. Ross received his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto and was a researcher for five years at Cal Poly before founding Reasons to Believe in 1986. He’s spoken at hundreds of universities around the world. 


Similar to the first night, students hanging around and talking afterwards. 


Dr. Ross fielding questions from students. 


Dr. Swamidass interacting with students.

We love some of the comments we’ve received from students: 

“I have a lot of doubts, but it was good to hear a molecular biologist [Dr. Josh Swamidass] who is so, so confident in his faith and that it is compatible with science.” Mike, Freshman

“What can I say? Dr. Hugh Ross was awesome.” Kevin, Freshman

“My communication professor – not particularly religious  – was so impressed by the event that she offered extra credit for anyone who attended. I think half the class showed up.” Tanya, Junior

“I’m not sure what I believe, but this was good and Christianity seems worth exploring.” Kathleen, Senior


Thursday morning, before taking off for UC Santa Barbara, Dr. Swamidass met with a group of interested students to answer additional questions, and share his research on an interpretation of Adam as a genealogical ancestor. 

Founded at Harvard University in 1992, the Veritas Forum is an annual academic event at Cal Poly that seeks to “engage students and faculty in discussions about life’s hardest questions and the relevance of Jesus Christ to all of life.”

Many thanks for everyone who worked behind the scenes to bring these events on campus. 

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Snack Time Feb 28, 2018 11am-1pm (UU 218)

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Please join us Wednesday February 28 between 11:10 am and 1:00 pm in UU 218 for our third Faculty Commons “Snack Time.” This is a time to connect with other faculty affiliated with Faculty Commons to further develop Christian community at Cal Poly, to be encouraged, and – yes – to have some snacks.

Everyone is welcome so feel free to bring a colleague and show up anytime for any amount of time you are available. Snacks will be provided, but feel free to bring your lunch if you want.


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Veritas Forum January 23-25, 2018

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January 2018, the Veritas Forum will be expanded to two evenings, both in the Performing Arts Center (the PAC). These events are open to students, faculty, and members of the campus community. Due to the historically strong interest on campus, especially among students, we – unfortunately – will not be opening these events up to the wider community. (Faculty members are of course, welcome and encouraged to bring an invited guest from off campus.)

Veritas 2018

What Does It Mean To Be Human? Two Biologists discuss from a Christian and secular perspective 

Tuesday evening January 23, 2018 7:30-9:00pm

Dr. Josh Swamidass, Computational Biologist, Washington University St. Louis 
Dr. Ed Himelblau, Molecular Biologist, Cal Poly


Are Human Beings Special? Perspectives from Astrophysics and Biology

Wednesday evening January 24, 2018 7:30-9:00pm

Dr. Josh Swamidass, Computational Biologist, Washington University St. Louis 
Dr. Hugh Ross, Astrophysics, founder of Reasons to Believe


In addition, three follow-up events are planned: 

Wednesday Jan 24: Q&A with Drs. Swamidass and Himelblau 12:10-1:00pm UU 204

Thursday January 25: Dr. Swamidass “Genealogical Adam” presentation 10:10-11:00am UU 204

Thursday January 25: Q&A with Drs. Swamidass and Ross 11:10am-12:00pm UU 204


Founded at Harvard University in 1992, the Veritas Forum is an annual academic event at Cal Poly that seeks to “engage students and faculty in discussions about life’s hardest questions and the relevance of Jesus Christ to all of life.”



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