CHAPTER 100: University Organization and Campuswide Policies


California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly), is a part of The California State University (CSU) system of higher education and is administered by the Trustees of the CSU.

101 History

When the California State Legislature established Cal Poly in 1901, it acknowledged the need for varied educational opportunities and outlined special goals for the institution. Those special goals were reaffirmed by the Trustees of the California State University and Colleges and the Legislature in 1961 when CalPoly’s enabling act was revised and reenacted.

From 1938 to 1966, Cal Poly was comprised of two separate state college campuses, the original campus at San Luis Obispo and one near Pomona called the Kellogg-Voorhis campus. In 1966, the Legislature separated the campuses, making two individual state colleges. In 1972, the college at San Luis Obispo be came CALIFORNIA POLYTECHNIC STATE UNIVERSITY, SAN LUIS OBISPO. Due to Cal Poly’s unique program offerings it has a statewide draw for students.

Back to top

102 Functions

Certain functions of Cal Poly are held in common with all CSU campuses:

“The California State University shall offer undergraduate and graduate instruction through the master’s degree in the liberal arts and sciences and professional education, including teacher education. Presently established two year programs in agriculture are authorized, but other two-year programs shall be permitted only when mutually agreed upon by the Trustees of the CaliforniaState University and the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges. The doctoral degree may be awarded jointly with the University of California, as provided in subdivision (c) and pursuant to Section 66904. The doctoral degree may also be awarded jointly with one or more independent institutions of higher education, provided that the proposed doctoral program is approved by the California Postsecondary Education Commission. Research, scholarship, and creative activity in support of its undergraduate and graduate instructional mission are authorized in the California State University and shall be supported by the state. The primary mission of the California State University is undergraduate and graduate instruction through the master’s degree.” (California Education Code Section 66010.4(b).)

Special emphases are authorized for Cal Poly as follows:

“In addition to the functions set forth in subdivision (b) of Section 66010.4, the California State Polytechnic University and the California Polytechnic State University shall be authorized to emphasize the applied fields of agriculture, engineering, business, home economics and other occupational and professional fields. This article shall be liberally construed.” (California Education Code Section 90404.)

It is widely recognized that Cal Poly is an exception to the statement that the state university campuses are primarily regional institutions. For example, in the 1955A Restudy of the Needs of California in Higher Education that informed the development of the Master Plan, the state’s education leaders argued that state college campuses (excluding the San Luis Obispo campus) should “continue to be responsive to well-documented regional needs.” More recently the LegislativeAnalyst Office (LAO) report, The Master Plan at 50: Guaranteed RegionalAccess Needed for State Universities, (dated February 14, 2011) states:

“For many years, California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly) had stood out as a more selective “destination” campus…and more than 90 percent of admitted students came from more than 90 miles away.”
Back to top

References for CAP 100:

  1. Date approved by the President: September 3, 2013
  2. Effective Date: September 3, 2013
  3. Responsible Department/Office: President’s Office
  4. Revision History: Use when applicable.
  5. Related University Policies, Procedures, Manuals and/or Documents:
    1. Campus Administrative Manual (CAM) Section 100 (retired).
    2. Office of the President Website,
  6. Laws, Regulations and/or Codes of practice referred to herein or related to this policy:
    1. California Education Code Section 66010.4(b).
    2. California Education Code Section 66608 et seq.
    3. California Education Code Section 90404.
    4. Legislative Analyst Office, The Master Plan at 50: Guaranteed Regional Access Needed for State Universities, February 14, 2011,