Isla Vista, CA– On March 17, 2016, Santa Barbara Police and Fire responded to a number of 911 calls on the 67 block of Del Playa. As a result of one such call, an unnamed student was transferred to Cottage Hospital after reportedly suffering from extreme dehydration and temporary blindness. Witnesses at the scene stated that the student had been participating in a drinking game when things got out of hand.
“He was Gaucho-boarding and then all of a sudden he passed out and started choking and it was all just so horrible,” Alicia Walker described. She later added that the group was celebrating Thirsty Thursday and that the game was a weekly ritual in which the player leans back in a chair while two others waterboard them using a rally towel and Kirkland Vodka. The game is rumored to have been created after the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on CIA Torture was released on December 9, 2014; inspiring a new wave of masochistic collegiate recreation. Expert opinions vary as to why this game is so popular.
“Scientists have agreed for a long time that asphyxiation can cause temporary euphoria,” UCSB psychology professor Lane Pearson said, “it seems that college students have realized this and are now abusing it.” She went on to list some long-term effects, including “loss of brain cells, respiratory problems, basically the same issues as with drinking in general but a little more extreme.” However, this view is not one that is universally held throughout academia.
Steve J. Wagner, head of the sociology department, argues that “it’s obvious these students are trying to show solidarity with the Guantanamo Bay prisoners,” and that “they’re being forced by President Obama to move out of their home, and these students realize the emotional harm that can come from that. They’re standing up for a basic human right.”
As of publishing there has been no official update regarding the student’s condition or the estimated time of recovery, however, #Gauchoback is trending on Twitter.