This week, Cal Poly revoked an incoming freshman’s wrestling scholarship after the student was caught on tape yelling a homophobic slur and making an obscene gesture.
The recent high school grad was part of a counter-protest at a “Families Belong Together” rally in Modesto last month.
The person who took the video said Bronson Harmon flipped him off and yelled an anti-gay slur at him when he saw he was being recorded.
Members of the LGBTQ community at Cal Poly are upset.
“He’s already bringing bad publicity to the school. That is not acceptable behavior to me,” said Dominic Scialabba, an organizer at the school’s Queer Student Union.
At the same time, Scialabba said this behavior is not surprising on campus.
“I’m both hurt, disgusted, while also being not surprised. These are typically the types of students that are drawn to Cal Poly.”
The university declined an on-camera interview but said in a statement:
“W e cannot comment on any details regarding his status as a student because of federal and state privacy laws.”
Bronson also declined an interview with KCOY on Thursday. However, in a statement to the San Luis Obispo Tribune on Tuesday, Harmon was apologetic over his behavior, yet disagreed with the consequences, saying: “I still feel like my freedom of speech was taken away, and I don’t think my scholarship should have been revoked.”
Some Facebook users thought Cal Poly’s decision was drastic, too.
Some of them wrote:
“Shame on Cal Poly for being cowards. Cal Poly doesn’t have to agree with what he did, but should honor the scholarship they gave him.”
“I t just shows you how hypocritical our country has become. Freedom now only applies to certain groups of people these days.”
“T hey shouldn’t be able to revoke a scholarship for speech…. unless it was truly inflammatory and hateful.”
But S cialabba thinks taking away his scholarship was actually not enough.
“Rescind Bronson’s admission. We do not need more homophobia, racism and other forms of oppression on our campus. A campus that is systematically built upon horribly bigoted values.”
Earlier this year, the university also came under fire over two separate incidents of white students in black face. Students have been demanding more diversity and inclusion since then.