SAN LUIS OBISPO – For the first time, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo has publicly apologized to the family of Kristin Smart for how it first handled the investigation into her disappearance.
The apology, which was published on Friday, comes 27 years to the day that the Stockton native disappeared following an off-campus party.
Kristin’s friends said, when they called Cal Poly police, officers initially wouldn’t take a missing persons report – and when they did, days later, police told the Smart family their daughter was likely camping.
Paul Flores, a classmate of Kristin, was only convicted of her murder this past fall.
Kristin’s body still has not been found.
Jeffrey Armstrong, Cal Poly’s president, wrote in the apology that they “are very sorry for what the Smart family has endured.”
He also wrote that Kristin’s disappearance spurred the creation of new safety programs on campus.
The full statement is below:
First, it must be said that I can’t imagine the pain and hurt Kristin’s family has felt and still feels.
We are very sorry for what the Smart family has endured. What they have been through is unimaginably heartbreaking, and I feel for them in ways I can’t express with words. While it is a different administration now than was in place in 1996, we recognize that things should had been done differently — and I personally wish that they had.
On behalf of Cal Poly leadership, I can say that as people who live in this community with families and human emotions ourselves, Kristin’s story is something that is always with us and weighs heavy on our hearts. Her story continues to be a part of the Cal Poly story, and we are determined to do all we can to help ensure the safety of all our students now and in the future.
While we will never be able to control what an individual with bad intent decides to do, we are constantly working to help ensure things like this don’t happen again at Cal Poly. Cal Poly places the utmost priority on the safety of its campus community members. The university has robust programming aimed at providing public safety services to all of our students, employees and visitors.
We abide by the Kristin Smart Campus Security Act and the Clery Act — maintaining agreements to report relevant cases to local law enforcement and providing annual crime report statistics for public information.
The POST-certified Cal Poly Police Department is charged with maintaining the safety of our campus and providing education outreach around crime prevention.
We have robust Title IX programming through the Civil Rights and Compliance Office (CRCO), working under mandates of federal law and CSU executive order. This includes investigative programming as well as education and preventative outreach.
After Kristin Smart’s disappearance, we created the Safer program to provide advocacy; confidential resources; and training, workshops and proactive outreach on the topics of sexual misconduct, domestic violence, and stalking.
Departments across campus work closely to examine potential public safety issues in the physical campus, such as lighting and access, to address and prioritize issues as they arise.
And as with all aspects of our campus community, we examine all of these programs and procedures on an ongoing basis, with an eye toward continual improvement.
—Jeffrey D. Armstrong
President, Cal Poly
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