Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Absolutely BRILLIANT planning!

I've got a GREAT idea! Let's cancel our practice of having rows and rows of port-a-potties at the biggest drinking-fest this side of Mardi Gras! Yes, Santa Barbara County authorities have made the stunning choice of not having port-a-potties available for the 20,000+ Halloween revelers that will be milling around Isla Vista, drinking copious amounts of alcoholic beverages, starting tomorrow night. Hmmmm.... What might this lead to? Well, in addition to a lot of very full bladders, it will lead to public urination of epic proportions. And, because some will find relieving themselves on the street, in front of hundreds of spectators, an unacceptable activity, there will be those that will try to do so in private, as in on private property, without permission, and not necessarily in a bathroom. I can imagine fights breaking out over people who have crossed various boundary lines in order to relieve themselves.

This is my foundational post for a forthcoming "I told you so" post next Monday or Tuesday after I hear about how an already out of control event became even more so given all the disorder created by the population of full-bladdered people with no way to correct the problem in a civilized manner.

Absolutely brilliant!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Does "Parental Notification" violate privacy?

UCSB is the only UC campus, but not the only UC, that endeavors to notify parents when a student has gotten in trouble with the police for drinking or doing drugs. More specifically when a UCSB student is either cited or arrested for any alcohol or drug related offense in Isla Vista (not the UCSB campus, interestingly) two letters will be mailed. The first will go the student expressing concern and making mention of counseling resources available. Then, about a week or two later, a second letter will be mailed to the "Permanent Address" of the student informing the presumed Parent/Guardian living there of the fact of the arrest or citation. This, of course, adds a whole other dimension to getting busted. For those of you who try to keep secrets from your parents, take notice that, when you get busted, not only must you be accountable to the Court, but in many cases you might have some explaining to do to your parent as well. Many students have expressed grievances about this "Big Brother" policy in effect, remarking that their misfortunes while out partying are not their parents' business nor concern. Naturally, parents and University officials feel differently. It could very well be that this program serves as a deterrent to the undesirable conduct. Binge drinking and drinking under age can have devastating consequences (separate from, and more serious than, an arrest or citation). It is NOT a violation of your privacy, legally speaking, as the information reported is public record. The University is certainly behaving in an officious way, but it does not amount to an actionable Privacy rights violation where the reported information is both part of the public record and true. Sorry.

To those who want to keep their legal misfortunes private from their parents, please consider that abuse of alcohol and drugs, especially when under age, is a destructive activity. Having said that, as a staunch civil libertarian, and one who generally disapproves of "Big Brother" tactics, I will say this: If you don't want your parents to get the "memo" you can ask to have the "Permanent Address" in your school file removed and/or changed. As an adult (18 years and older), regardless of who is paying your tuition, room and board, etc., the University has no right to force to you to disclose a permanent address, nor the contact information of your parents. Food for thought. My disclaimer, as always, is that the aforementioned alternative to "Big Brother" is that, if you want to be treated as an adult, act like one. Drink responsibly and don't break the law.