Columnists assess Labor Day booze ban: Students should be able to drink

Tara Miller

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Throughout the years, Labor Day weekend has always been considered a pretty big alcohol-related event, primarily because of the Labor Day float. However, after the death of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student Brett Olson last year, any sort of alcoholic beverage has been banned from the Sacramento River.

But one death should not determine the fate of the rest of those who want to enjoy themselves while floating. Some may choose to participate, but others may not due to the fact that drinking is no longer allowed.

Trying to remove alcohol from the float is pointless, because those who will participate this year are still going to bring alcohol — they will just be sneakier about it. Plus, the majority of people at the float are likely going to be against the ban anyway.

Last year alone, nearly 3,641 people showed up by 2 p.m., and that number was expected to reach around 10,000 by sundown. More than 260 personnel were employed last year during the entire weekend, including the Chico Police Department and outside agencies, according to a Chico Enterprise-Record article. This just shows that even though there are cops present to look out for harmful situations or for people who are in danger, there still is not enough to enforce the alcohol ban with so many people attending the float.

Because the majority of people drink, the minority who don’t are taking away the majority’s personal rights and freedom that lets them choose what they want to do. And every person has the right to choose whether he or she wants to partake in drinking, and what he or she thinks is right for them. The majority should not be forced into doing something that another group has decided to enforce.

Of course there have been some serious accidents in the past, but that should be a lesson for everyone to know the consequences of drinking too much while on the river. People shouldn’t have to suffer for the mistakes of a few.

Banning alcohol from the float was not a good decision. It takes away from students’ rights to choose whether they actually wanted to partake in drinking or not and it also took away their right to enjoy themselves.


Tara Miller can be reached at [email protected].

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