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Timber! 

If events continue to proceed as they have for the past year or so, I’m probably going to have to start donating to Cal Poly. Everyone knows funding for education is at the bottom of the government’s priority list—just below springing for drones to crash birthday and wedding parties in the Middle East and well below working up a sweet, sweet benefit package for politicians doing their darndest to deprive the rest of us of our Social Security. 

And if something were to happen to Cal Poly, I just don’t know what I would rant about from week to week. I might even have to go back to paying attention to local politics, which somehow attract the simultaneously most boring and hot-headed blowhards I’ve seen this side of a comment board. 

I almost feel bad this week. I mean, less than two months after the Cal Poly administration places Greek life on temporary social probation following three fraternity-related reported sexual assaults in as many months—meaning that Greek-sponsored parties are a big no-no—the roof collapsed at a “St. Fratty’s Day” celebration. The university is investigating whether frats were involved, which is like investigating whether douchebags were involved in the Gathering of the Juggalos. It’s already implied in the title, and video of either event will make you question your participation in the species.

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Mustang News quoted agricultural business junior Joey Gotelli, who just happened to be among the dozens of students drinking and partying on the roof when it collapsed, describing the scene as a “war zone” and attempting to paint himself as a hero who “tried to get the girls up” before bailing. The only person who would think they were somehow heroic for participating in serious destruction of property during a 5 a.m. drinking session that also manages to negatively stereotype an entire country and culture is some privileged college bro who clearly doesn’t understand the definition of a war zone. “Suck it, one-legged Third-World orphans who have to navigate minefields to get clean water; our drinking roof collapsed.” Somehow I don’t think the Gates Foundation is preparing a trip to SLO.

Meanwhile, Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong released what feels like the 5,000th damage control press release full of tepid promises about how “the university will investigate all aspects of this incident and will respond appropriately when the facts are known.” There was no mention of the rampant speculation that the university’s Greek community may have had a role in organizing an event called “St. Fratty’s Day.” This is likely owing to the fact that if the university did somehow stumble across information that the Greeks were involved in yet another PR disaster after being placed on time-out by the university, the administration would be exposed as a toothless disciplinary body incapable of outwitting a student body that thinks climbing on a roof and drinking at 5 a.m. is a great idea. 

And maybe, just maybe, the only role the university’s Greeks played in the fiasco was turning out in full force to do what they do best: get wasted and destroy personal property. There were obviously plenty of fraternities and sororities present that morning, many of which were only too eager to share their poor decision making with the world. Sigepbro239 posted a photo on Instagram of seven bros in green, including one wearing short shorts with the word “Guinness” on his ass with the hashtag #stfrattysday. 

The thing that really disturbs me about all this is the fact that there were apparently 238 other people who got to the Sigepbro handle before this dude. My Latin is a bit rusty, but I believe “Sigep” is short for Sigma Phi Epsilon, the fraternity that had its official recognition at Cal Poly revoked in 2011 after alcohol violations and allegations of sexual assault. Sound familiar?

I’ve also been reading a lot of “our thoughts are with those who were injured,” which is actually a direct quote from Armstrong’s press release and a fair amount of green baloney to me. It’s not that I’m incapable of empathy. I just reserve most such thoughts for the many people injured and killed in the actual war zones around the world, the people who didn’t pump their circulatory system full of booze and climb onto a roof en masse, destroying someone’s property. Some of my thoughts are also with the roof, which was probably expensive and didn’t exhibit any grievous error in judgment beyond apparently being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

And now SLO Mayor Jan Marx is doing what she does best: working up a ban. She apparently thinks that passing an ordinance preventing the rest of us from going onto our rooftops for any activity besides maintenance or roof installation is the answer to Cal Poly’s drinking problem. Which means no more late-night stargazing or escaping my noisy roommates, of which I have 37 because it’s the only way I can afford the housing in this town. 

Drafting yet another ordinance in a city that has come to be defined by the many things it proudly prohibits is not an act of creation, and I don’t really see how it’s going to make it easier for police to bust a gathering of 3,000 drunk students at 6 a.m. before the roof collapses. Nor is it something to be proud of, any more than climbing on a roof while drunk is a reasonable celebration of another country or culture. At least in the case of those with the sprained ankles and green shirts covered in vomit we can hope that age will bring them some kind of wisdom and perspective. I don’t know what it would take for Mayor Marx to acquire some perspective. I only know that I’m an allegedly grown adult, and I’m not losing my roof privileges because the only thing she knows how to do is rubber stamp bans.

Shredder defines goodness as using your damn blinker. Send turn signals to shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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