My fellow Chico Americans, I think we’re all aware that there’s a dialogue begging to happen when it comes to the drinking problem at Chico State. Everybody has an opinion, fingers are pointing, hardlines are being drawn, fine lines are being walked, and pearls are being clutched. My head has been spinning and I’ve changed my mind a thousand times about what to do, who’s responsible, who isn’t? There’s a fine line between asking students to take personal responsibility and blaming the victim. If we take a hardline on the personal responsibility angle it shuts down any discussion about what, if anything, the rest of us can/should do. Or is Chico State an incubator for brand new baby alcoholics, kids that are already predisposed for one reason or another?
And then there’s that delightful little manifesto that was released by the University with all these endorsements at the bottom. Those prominent figures in our community, attaching their names to a call to action, those pillars of our society that didn’t even bother to contact the Synthesis or any bar owners before agreeing that, “We need to confront the availability and low cost of drinks at downtown bars; the advertising and bar guides that promote cheap and excessive drinking…etc.” How do you expect to confront these issues without inviting bar owners to the table to talk about it? “Our next steps include community meetings early in 2013 where experts, parents, students and University and community members can discuss the challenges and chart solutions.” Is “chart solutions” just a fancy way of saying, “blame the bar owners?”
We had a little meeting of bar owners here at the Synthesis offices and I was taken aback at their willingness to cooperate, compromise and come together to help. In spite of being overlooked and pariahed by the University, they were willing to come to the table. So make some fucking room at that table. We’re all in it together, but at some point I think we’re going to have to ask ourselves, “What is Chico State going to do to change their reputation?” And, “Are we all hypocrites?” (I mean I’m drinking right now as I write this, knowwhatImean?) Or, “If the food & drink calendar is facilitating alcohol abuse, is it also facilitating obesity because we tell people where to get cheap chicken wings too?”
We have a lot of great perspectives in our issue this week and we plan on following this pretty closely. We care about you, you little larval baby party animals. We don’t want you to die, we want you to drink responsibly and we want to see a cultural shift at Chico State. If you need help or think you might have a problem with alcohol, then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be glad to get you some information and the help you need. In the meantime, don’t kill your friends by making them drink more than they should, girls, don’t abandon your drunk bestie at the bar and make her walk home alone. Take care of each other.