Author: Riley Kimball
Oxy’s alcohol policy states that “open containers [. . .] imply consumption.” This means that open beer cans, handles, flasks or any other vessel for alcohol function as incriminating evidence of drinking. Oxy students understand and generally respect these rules (or do their best to escape notice of breaking them). Of late, however, a new twist in this policy has students writhing: the inclusion of red, Solo-brand cups as containers for alcohol. Under this tacit evolution of the policy, underage students can be written up for having red cups in hand. While many oppose this new rule, it is both logically founded and true to the goal of the alcohol policy.
The new policy is founded on the deep connections between alcohol and red Solo cups. Plenty of evidence suggests this subconscious association. Red cups in a picture on Facebook clearly denote a party. Some will deny this correlation, but anyone hesitant of posting photos of drinking de-tags pictures framing beer cans and red cups with equal haste. The modern prevalence of beer pong (or Beirut) at parties has helped to solidify the bond between red cups and alcohol.
Students complain that red cups do not necessarily indicate the presence of alcohol. This is true, insofar as the association between alcohol and these cups is not concrete; they are, in fact, capable of containing other drinks. Such cups are popular for being disposable. However, as adults, when these cups are used at birthday parties, they generally don’t contain soda. Is it so unjust, then, to assume that, at least in college, red cups contain alcohol?
A logical look at the circumstances reveals the justice of the new policy. In college, most, if not all, red cups house alcohol of some sort. Alcohol consumption by minors is both illegal and unsupported by Oxy. Therefore, the use of red cups indicates illicit goings-on, which Oxy is bound by policy and law to prevent.
Students may consider the case hopeless, but this is only for a lack of tact. The entrenched association exists only between alcohol and red, Solo-brand cups. This provides a few simple measures that can be taken to escape prosecution and writing-up. Cups of myriad brands are available for purchase as nearby as Super A Foods or Target. Dixie-brand and paper cups are two such easy alternatives. And for true purists only content with plastic cups of deep hues and moderate washability, even Solo makes cups in different colors.
To be sure, Oxy’s alcohol policy can encroach on an evening. However, the rules make sense: an R.A. cannot be expected to play dumb while watching students set up red cups in a triangle formation on a long table. While alterations and modifications of the regulations may seem harsh, students of a selective school like Oxy should be able to stay one step ahead. The red cup policy, therefore, is not so much a bane as a necessary measure for alcohol regulation.
Riley Kimball is an undeclared first-year. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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