History 303: Research and Writing Seminar in History
This paper follows the gay rights movement at Cal Poly and San Luis Obispo through the 1970s. Cal Poly’s Gay Students Union (GSU) was first proposed in 1972, but had to undergo a series of legal battles before Cal Poly administration finally granted the organization official school recognition four years later. University President Robert E. Kennedy only signed the Union’s bylaws under the direct advisory of the State Attorney General. Kennedy claimed his opposition to the club was only for legal reasons, but this claim did not hold up against previous statements made by the administration. Further discrimination was faced by gay students at an off-campus discotheque owned by Cal Poly professor Norman Jackson. Jackson forbade same-sex couples from buying couples tickets or dancing together, and fired his student business partners for inviting the GSU. Student-run newspaper Mustang Daily followed GSU controversies and published a four part series that allowed gay people at Cal Poly a platform to counter the stereotypes and stigmas against them, as well as share their stories.