Gauchos, throughout the first quarter of the school year many of you have undoubtedly had, seen or heard of run-ins with the law while out and about in Isla Vista. The morning after a big night on the town can be rough in itself, and only worsens when you sift through your pockets and find a yellow piece of paper with a court date. So, your friends at the Office of the Student Advocate offer some helpful tips and tricks to avoid trouble and get you and your friends through the weekends without a scratch (save for that pesky hangover and freshly-bruised dignity).

Keep It Inside. THIS IS THE #1 RULE IN ISLA VISTA — Don’t walk outside with anything even resembling alcohol or a red cup! Police enforce a zero-tolerance policy in Isla Vista during Halloween weekend and if you are seen with alcohol and are under 21, you will receive a Minor in Possession ticket. This will set you back around $500 and you’ll have to enroll in C.A.S.E. (or worse, have you license suspended). If you’re over 21, you’ll receive an open container ticket.

Don’t Be Blatantly Drunk. Police officers will question individuals who seem out of control and can issue Drunk in Public tickets that carry a hefty fine and require C.A.S.E. as well.

Urinate in Urinals (duh). Though this may seem like an obvious one, you’d be surprised at how many students choose to do the deed outdoors each year and get a ticket for public urination. This also comes with a sizeable fine and you’ll be one step closer to having to register as a sex offender.

Keep Those Heels On. After a long night out, many girls are tempted to take off their heels for the walk home. Think twice about this decision. A girl holding her heels often draws the attention of police officers and could result in questioning.

Use the Buddy System. It’s always safer to be with others you know. They can protect you from being taken advantage of while under the influence, and steer you away from situations that could get you into trouble.

Be Polite. Isla Vista is an incredibly diverse environment. Be respectful of those around you. With alcohol as a catalyst, even the smallest of disputes or tamest of jokes can quickly turn into full-blown fights. And remember, always be respectful of and talk politely to police officers. Running your mouth can only get you into more trouble.

Don’t Rely on Cell Phones. Cell phones sometimes don’t work in Isla Vista during events like Halloween and Floatopia due to the sheer mass of people. Make plans to meet up with your friends before you go out, and establish a meeting place if you happen to get separated.

Follow these tips and tricks and you’ll be sure avoid trouble and enjoy your weekends. In the unfortunate event that you do run into some trouble, don’t hesitate to seek help from the Office of the Student Advocate. We provide free, confidential assistance for students accused of residence hall misconduct and university misconduct. We are located in the Associated Students main office, on the first floor of the MultiCultural Center. We hold drop-in office hours 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, and special appointments can be made by calling (805) 893-2577. Or, you can email us at

Adam Cook is an Office of the Student Advocate caseworker.