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Cougars & Mustangs 

If the freckles and red hair don’t immediately give it away, this columnist has proud Irish heritage. You already know why this is being brought up. St. Patrick’s Day is almost here, and with it comes some of the nasty reputation that you, as college students, have to face every single year due to a small number of you who are hell-bent on making it apparent. So let’s do what we can this year. Let’s be responsible. Here are some pledges to make this year as you celebrate a holiday you barely understand the only way you know how—with ludicrous amounts of alcohol. 

To begin with, pick a designated driver. If that ends up needing to be a Taxi cab or Uber or what have you, that’s fine. But if it’s someone attending the party with you, don’t call them a square for not having even one cup. For that matter, don’t do that to anyone. Partaking in a substance is not and should never be a requirement for someone’s friendship, and if the tragedy involved with various “hazing rituals” has taught us anything (and heaven knows it should have), it’s how dangerous the practice can be. And some people may, for reasons that are none of your business in the first place, be wary of having any in the first place. For example: a family’s history of addiction or medication that will harm them if it’s combined with a stiff drink. On top of that, there are people uncomfortable with the idea of having anything resembling a diminished capacity for decision-making. 

Let’s talk about that, in pointedly repeated terms. Intoxication results in a diminished capacity for decision making. As a result, legally, intoxication is a serious factor in someone’s inability to give consent to sex. Is your partner awake? Are they alert? Can they truly say “yes” and mean it? HAVE they said “yes”? If the answer is “no” to ANY of these things, then it’s rape. Think twice.

There are going to be a lot of checkpoints. After last year’s roof cave-in incident, there are probably going to be even harsher crackdowns. But this doesn’t mean that you should shy away from a drink if you want one. In the end, be a smart thinker. Follow your heart, and respect someone else’s decision to say no to ANYTHING a party could throw their way. You can still have a good time!

Contributor Lola White-Sanborn Irishes you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day. No, she didn’t get that from a greeting card, gosh … Send her your collegiate news via cougarsandmustangs@newtimesslo.com!

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