Drinking on campus

Jason Okamoto

Please, allow me to throw a fit, then later surrender to reason. There are few things more beautiful than a fully stocked bar. If I weren’t such a lightweight I would even seek help for this outlook. In the case of the bars on the Sacramento State campus, there is only beer, some ale, and a couple of those vodka malt drinks to choose from.

I do not drink regularly at school, but nevertheless, it is nice to know that I can get intoxicated if I really wanted to. What’s the harm in that? Well, the Sacramento State Alcohol Beverage policy would have me believe that drinking beer on campus is a “threat” to my education as well as those around me.

After buying a beer at The Hive in the University Union, I was branded with a paper wristband (similar to the ones given out at eighteen and over nightclubs) that indicated that I was of legal drinking age. I rather felt like a cow that had been tagged …as if I had some disease. It was an outrage and other people had to feel the same way.

When walking into The Hive in the middle of the day I find that the atmosphere is quite social, for the most part, conversations are lively and animated. Here a wristband, there a wristband, it resembles a Friday night at The Rage (don’t ask me how I know that). It wasn’t hard finding fuel for my fire, and right off the bat another gentleman confirmed the wickedness of the wristband.

“I’ve been called on it in class by my teachers,” says Matt Azevedo, a Senior History major, “they make a big deal about it…. it’s embarrassing.” I feel you brother. Delighted with his response, I moved on to the next table and questioned a male and female couple to see how much appalled by the pieces of paper they wore shamefully on their wrists. However, they seemed not to mind it very much, and I took them for passive existentialists, before moving on.

At the next table I sat with Brian Westover, a fellow Communication Studies major. Over a beer I inquired about his take on the whole issue. Expecting that he would be equally annoyed as I was, he surprised me with his response.

“I’m willing to put on a wrist band if it will cut down the chances of someone under age, drinking, then getting behind the wheel of a car.”

The man had a good point. So good in fact, I did something that I normally don’t do for my columns…research. The new Alcohol Beverage Policy, enforced May, 2002, states; “No person under twenty-one (21) years of age shall be in attendance (of alcohol consumption) unless specific control procedures to prevent services to and consumption by minors have been previously approved.”

It didn’t take long for me to figure out that the wristbands were just a part of enforcing this rule, which previously did not exist, or had not been enforced.

After returning to the Hive I spoke with Round Table Pizza employee, Jeremy Wheeler, who didn’t think the policy was a big issue at all. He had even anticipated much more rowdiness from customers who were forced to wear the wristband. So far, there have been no cases involving the assistance of law enforcement.

Most people I spoke with there after seemed to care less and less about what I had previously conceived to be a great injustice. “The bands aren’t going to stop anyone from drinking if they really want to drink,” said Peter Wynn, an Engineering major.

“It doesn’t matter if you are eighteen or twenty one, who’s going to want to get drunk here anyway?” added fellow Engineering major, Mo Monh.

With this one question, what was left of the furious wind in my sails completely died down. I came to the quick realization that school would be last place that I would want to get messed up. So, so much for that. But if they ever put the band on too tight and it cuts the circulation to my hand causing it to fall asleep, then I just might get angry. And that’s another column.

To show that I am a good sport, I will buy a beer for the first person (and only the first person), twenty-one years of age or older, that spots me in Round Table Pizza, during game four of the World Series. Go Giants!

Hornet Staff or close friends of Jason Okamoto are prohibited.