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The Way It Should Be


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Dan McGuire
Columnist
By Dan McGuire
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
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Party like it's 2002

The end of the spring 2003 semester brought about what many have referred to as "the day the drinking died." On May 7, the Tucson and University of Arizona Police Departments collaborated on the first large-scale alcohol bust in their recent public campaign against underage drinking.

That night, at a local party just north of Speedway Boulevard, local police surrounded the quaint college house, threatening everyone inside with certain arrest and additional charges if they tried to make a break for it.

What resulted from that bust was one of the largest alcohol-related police actions in UA history (at the time). Seventy-four underage drinkers were arrested and cited, as well as dozens of legal drinkers who were unfairly charged with contributing to the delinquency of minors.

That was only the beginning. The campus has since witnessed horror story after horror story of these kinds of raids on college nightlife, the most publicized of which was the German SS-like ambush at Star Ranch student apartments nearly a year ago, in which 125 minors were cited for underage drinking. The most common act, though, has been Tucson Police Department's relentless enforcement of "noise violations" and abuse of the red-tag system.

In only 15 months since that May 2003 invasion, a distinct transformation has occurred. Our student body has lost a special characteristic. There used to be a nearly tangible aura of excitement and anxiety on Fridays and Saturdays for everyone from the seventh-year seniors to the 18-year-old freshmen.

This aura was created not by the kegs, 40s and cases of Keystone Light that would be consumed on those evenings (and sometimes mornings or afternoons), but by the students themselves, who were dedicated to the proposition that all drinkers are created equal; that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, the most basic of which being life, liberty and the pursuit of a decent vodka tonic.

Though endangered, that 2002 feeling isn't extinct. We can rebuild it, nurture it and bring about an alcohol renaissance that will restore the pleasure our Friday and Saturday nights used to provide (though if you're in a fraternity, add Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday to that list). What else can we do in Tucson?

There's just one fundamental rule: Don't be stupid! You'd be surprised how many college-educated people ignore this rule. A few tips (not just for freshmen) for this year's party-going:

  • Being fashionably late to a party only ensures that you'll have less drinking time before the cops arrive. It doesn't matter how "cool" you are when you're explaining your MIP to the judge.

  • Don't let "that one guy" tag along to parties with you. You can always identify this person by asking him how many times he's woken up alone, outside and missing articles of clothing after a night of drinking. If it's happened once, let it slide. More than once, cut him.

  • Don't be "that one guy."

  • Any party with nudity is guaranteed a short life span, no matter how fun the party may be.

  • Please stop smoking pot in the dorms. RAs have noses like sharks and can smell it like blood in the water. Besides, we're all tired of reading, "police found a green, leafy substance" in Police Beat.

  • Play beer pong whenever and wherever you can - home, apartment, parent's house, wherever. Beer pong is quite possibly the greatest all-around drinking game in existence. It brings out the best in us all.

  • A party with 50 dudes and three girls is not a party.

  • Under no circumstance should you ever look at, point at, scream obscenities at or throw any alcohol container at an officer of the law while intoxicated. That's your Disneyland FastPass to jail.

  • Turn 21 as soon as you can.

  • UA football games were made to be watched while intoxicated. Sober UA football is overrated. God bless those who try.

    These tips aren't fail-safe, and many underage students who decide to drink this semester will most likely have a run-in with the law and a guest appearance in Police Beat. But by following this advice, we just might be able to bring that good old 2002 feeling back to our campus, no matter how dizzy and sick it makes us on Sunday morning.

    Dan McGuire is a political science and journalism senior. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.



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