:: Running from the Thought Police ::

Reality-Based Thoughts, Ruminations, and Unsolicited Opinions of a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign student alumnus and employee.
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:: Thursday, April 13, 2006 ::

The University Is Getting Serious And/Or Consistent In Cracking Down On Drinking

The Daily Illini (thanks for getting the issue on the web at a decent time) reports that the University has suspended the Irish Illini for violating RSO rules on alcohol at events.
The Irish Illini has been suspended until the first day of the next academic year by the University for promoting drinking through their listserv. The e-mail, which was sent on March 1 and concerned Unofficial St. Patrick's Day, informed club members when and where they would be meeting, along with information about the discounted prices they would receive on drinks.

"There was a correspondence distributed by the Irish Illini that specifically advertised the availability of alcohol for their members," said Brooks Moore, director of the Office of Registered Organizations.

The Irish Illini, a Registered Student Organization, encouraged and promoted drinking alcohol by stating that people wearing the Unofficial Irish Illini shirt would receive discounted drinks at The Clybourne, 706 S. Sixth St., and Firehaus, 708 S. Sixth St, thereby breaking the Alcohol Policy Procedures and Guidelines for registered organizations, said Patrick Boyle, president of the Irish Illini.

"The Irish Illini, as a registered organization, distributed information to their members that advertised the availability of alcohol as an exclusive program for members of the Irish Illini," Moore said. "Student organizations cannot advertise the availability of alcohol and cannot knowingly sponsor, engage or endorse events that substantially abstract from the operations and academic instruction of the University."
Predictably, Josh Rorhsheib is opposed to this, but his argument is merely a red herring. He was quite properly smacked down for using a logical fallacy.
Josh Rohrscheib, co-president of Illinois Student Senate and graduate student, said he does not agree with the University's actions. He argued, in an e-mail to Ruth McCauley, acting dean of students, that the purpose of buying an Irish Illini t-shirt is so that students can show they are a part of the organization.

McCauley said the selling of Unofficial t-shirts is not the reason the Irish Illini is being suspended.

"If a student organization decides to get t-shirts for a barcrawl … it's not a violation of the code," McCauley said. "What might be a violation, specifically, is posting details about availability of alcohol."
Later on in the story, the president of the club, Patrick Boyle, thinks that the Irish Illini were singled out because they're "a larger group and Irish." I think, from my observation post in an ivory tower, that Patrick's only half right. The university is cracking down on the Irish Illini because its a large group whose sole reason for existence is the consumption of large quantities of alcohol. Anyone who's spent a year as an undergrad here knows this - its not like the club tries to hide this aspect of its organization. Since "unofficial" is the largest drinking day on campus, it makes sense that any ambush for a club whose primary goal is the reckless consumption of alcohol would be set up to catch groups before "unofficial."

While we're on the subject of timing, I'd like to note that, while it's mid-April now, the article refers to events happening in the beginning of March, before the death of Caroline Yoon focused even more negative attention on "unofficial."

Also, if one does want to go the "because they're Irish" route, there's always the background issue of the Chief. The university is trying to convince the NCAA that our mascot doesn't encourage sterotypes while one of its student organizations promotes an image of Irish people as a bunch of mindless drunks.

Part of the punnishment for the Irish Illini is, apparently, that they won't be allowed to participate in Quad Day, which is the major recruiting day for Registered Student Organizations. I've said elsewhere that the university, if it wants to tone down or eliminate "unofficial," will have to do something to remove the sense of entitlement students have towards public intoxication. (In fact, I should probably write a coherent blog post on it...) Cutting this large organization dedicated to drinking off from its source of new members should help reduce this sense of entitlement. While I hadn't personally considered this angle before, I applaud the university for taking positive, effective steps in the matter.

:: The Squire 12:56 AM :: email this post :: ::


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