Sometimes… you just have to know how to pick your battles. Apparently the Webb County Community Coalition of SCAN hasn’t because they have just been SUED. That is right, ladies and gentlemen and all readers of this funky little blog. If you recall in my post titled “Go back to the drawing board” yesterday, SCAN wants TAMIU to ban alcohol from its campus, particularly from the Autmus Festival and the Laredo Heat soccer games. They launched a misguided (in my opinion) media campaign and well… if they wanted to be in the media so badly, guess this is one way to do it.
The TAMIU Alumni Association is suing SCAN for defamation and “tortious interference with prospective relations” because as stated in the lawsuit:
beginning in September of 2009, Melissa Belmares-Cavazos and Mario Flores, who are SCAN “Program Director(s)”, began a campaign to undermine Autmus Fest by targeting the TAMIU Alumni. Belmares-Cavazos began associating “underage drinking” and “binge drinking” with Autmus Fest in an email to the SCAN e-mail listserv.
By the looks of what is in the suit, the TAMIU Alumni Association had a meeting in 2009 AND in 2010 with SCAN and stated:
(1) the TAMIU Alumni were not in violation of any of the university’s rules; (2) the TAMIU Alumni encourage alcohol education awareness and even offered to provide SCAN with a booth at AutMus Fest to promote alcohol awareness; (3) that alcohol sales would take place in designated, controlled areas; and (4) the TAMIU Alumni were in strict compliance with the law and were vigilant regarding safety and crowd control.
Apparently, this was just not good enough for the SCAN representatives.
What I don’t understand is what does SCAN win with this campaign? To target a music festival where there is vigilance and plenty of witnesses doesn’t make sense – the real targets should be the culture of drinking in Laredo and the students who fall into it.
There was a comment on my post from yesterday that really struck a chord with me by someone named Ed Oviedo (who shares my birthday – NQV!):
Drinking culture??? I’ve been in Laredo for 14 years, actually to the day today. When we stepped out or went out in other cities where I resided, we would say, “Let’s go out.” or “Are we going out???” Sure, there would be drinking at times, but only in Laredo have I heard the phrases, “We went DRINKING”, “Let’s go DRINKING” or “Are we going DRINKING???” It may be perceived as the same thing but, in other cities, the emphasis is in having fun, not in imbibing. Go figure…
Interesting observation, no?
The saddest part in this lawsuit, though, are the attached exhibits. For representatives with such enthusiasm to prevent heavy drinking, there are pages and pages and pages of Facebook posts with status updates like:
“…I have a major headache this morning but i am out and about …” with a response by JFS asking “La Cruda?” and the SCAN rep responding, “Oh yea!!!”
“Having fun…” with a response from CR-B, “I bet u R… drink some for me.” and the SCAN rep responding, “We will girl.”
“I really need to go out and have some fun… let me know who is going out on Thursday night.. Where is a good place to go and just chill with some cold ones???” with a response from CCV, “Mel, let’s go to Mary’s house… she’s having a gold party, but not for you to purchase gold, but u take ur scrap gold & get paid top dollar for it… …PS) There will be alcoholic beverages served there… & its all for FREE!!!…”
Uh, what color was that kettle again? Don’t make me go quoting Gandhi again… oh, alright, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Another lesson to learn here is that Facebook is public record and your words can speak just as loud as your actions, but that is not the point of this post.
I know that binge drinking and underage drinking are a problem, especially on college campuses. I still believe the battle should include a more effective approach to fighting heavy drinking at an early age and with the college community and not a disingenuous media campaign that is only keeping us writers busy commenting.
If the TAMIU Alumni Association wins, they will get an ex parte temporary restraining order (which means no disparaging remarks, no insinuations of illegal drinking, no entering the property during AutMus, no disturbing the peace, and no to a bunch of other stuff) and damages which means the above SCAN representative leading this charge won’t be able to go get “a cold one” at AutMus.
So that leaves us with the following hopes:
1) that AutMus is a huge success to help increase scholarship monies and get people who have never been on the TAMIU campus to consider a university experience (I guess the line-up helps this point),
2) that SCAN can refocus its efforts on fighting heavy drinking by addressing the real issue and not a fundraising activity associated with the university but not the university,
3) that the two can actually come together to do something constructive and more inclusive of the community to help fight alcohol abuse,
4) and that people follow my example of not drinking other than the occasional sip of wine – hahaha, sorry, had to throw that in. I have fun whether people around me drink or not but start to lose fun when anyone drinks excessively. Sorry friends who drink – but you already know that.
If you go to the AutMus Festival on September 4, 2010 – have fun and drink in moderation!!