It’s 9 p.m. on a Friday, and you’re pre-gaming Isla Vista in a room in your residence hall – Francisco Torres, in my case. And, yes, to those of you who drive by, we do hear “Fuck FT” a minimum of five times a day. That’s beside the point, though. You’re pre-gaming with 15 people in one room, the music on full blast. Red cups and shot glasses in people’s hands and handles dispersed throughout the room. Suddenly you hear a knock and the proclamation, “Resident Assistant. Open up.”
To be a good, helpful citizen, I’ll give you a few friendly tips on how not to get caught drinking in the dorms. If you’re going to party there, you might as well be as smart about it as you can be – if you can be smart about it at all.
First: Make sure the room you’re partying in is a mess. That way when the RAs come, you can easily hide the alcohol in the closet, under the bed, in a drawer, behind the laundry basket – anywhere you think they won’t look.
Secondly, have an escape plan. Hide in the closest, lie under a bunch of blankets, hide under the bed, behind the door or in the bathroom. Or, depending on the landing and height, be sure to have the window open and the screen removed first – you can jump out the window. If you’re not lucky enough to escape, the RAs will line you up in the hallway and blindfold you. They are the cavalry and their pens are their guns.
“Can I see your ACCESS card, please?” The two RAs then go from person to person taking their names. In the midst of this, while their backs are turned, attempt to slip away into other rooms. It will work for a few people, and if it doesn’t, just say you’re getting your ACCESS card. After they take your names, you’re free to do whatever. No need to run and change your permanent mailing address on GOLD, because no letter is sent home. Go to a party instead to ease your worries about how screwed you are. In my case, I chose to go to the Surf Club party on Del Playa.
While at that party, think of whom you’re going to blame everything on. If everybody blames one person, then you can significantly cut down on the chance you’ll get assigned the College Alcohol & Substance Education program. Choose one person to take the blame, and say that you just walked into the room when the RAs came. The Resident Director might believe your story, and if you’re lucky, let you off.
If you do get your name written down, you’re not given any punishment or even talked to until a few days later. During these few days, make sure your alibi is in sync with the rest of the group’s. You’ll have to make individual appointments with the RD, and you want to make sure your lies are at least cohesive. You’ll meet with the RD and go over what happened. They give you a chance to defend yourself, tell your story and then you’re let go. You won’t find out if you have CASE until everyone has had his or her appointments.
Days later, you find out you have CASE via a hand-delivered letter, which they casually slide under the door as if it were junk mail. When some people hear they have to attend CASE, they think it means going to court. These people, however, are idiots. You’ve got to go to an intake session in the CASE office – located in Embarcadero Hall across from Woodstock’s – which will take about an hour. Then you schedule the day and time of the meetings you’ll be having for the next six weeks. Each meeting is 75 minutes long, with one class per week. CASE costs $75. You’re probably going to be paying out of pocket unless you want it billed to your BARC. I’m assuming you wouldn’t, since your parents would call you… with plenty of questions.
I still have to go to my first session of CASE. Here’s some advice to all those pre-gamers out there: If you’re going to drink in the dorms, keep five people or less in the room, and don’t crank the music. Party on, people. I’ll let you know how my CASE goes.