**Due to unavoidable circumstances, the guest blog will be posted on a different day**
[Some names were changed to protect the innocent!]
I lived on campus, in Aquinas Hall, during my third year when I was a student at Seton Hall University . (I know what you’re thinking and the answer is…YES. The dormitory is named after Saint Thomas Aquinas. I find it ironic that the Catholic Church, with it’s clear hatred of free-thought, has a patron saint of Universities!) In mid-February, a friend of mine, “L” joined me in my dorm room and we did what we always did; we drank. L let me know that two of his buddies from high school were planning on visiting the campus and he asked if I would sign them into the building. I didn’t have a problem with that and said, “sure,” oblivious of the impact the decision would have. Before I neglect to mention, Aquinas Hall was a dry-dorm.
Later on in the day, L’s friends, “Lebron” and “DWade,” arrived on campus and I signed them into the dorm. We agreed to hangout in my friend Shawn’s room, which was located at the other end of the hall. A liquor store run was made and drinks were enjoyed while we watched our favorite DVD, ‘American Pimp.’ (This was the time in my life in which I knew that I would be a great pimp. Why do I have morals? Damn Catholic upbringing! Yes, I can have morals and not believe in “god.” Who knows maybe one day I’ll revisit the pimp dream! Ladies, feel free to contact me in any manner that you deem appropriate, and we can get this money! “A bitch with no instruction is headed for self destruction!” – D.C.’s Kenny Red)
The alcohol had to be smuggled into the building, but this time the degree of difficulty was raised. We Bought a 12-pack of Corona, a liter of Hennessey, and six twenty-two ounces of Steele Reserve. We drank in the room and prepared to attend an on-campus party, held at the student center.
Shawn and his roommate, Dave, had to change before the party, so they agreed to meet me, L, Lebron, and DWade in the cafeteria. In our drunken state, we decided to walk over to the campus center with the half-finished Hennessey bottle, and the beer each of us had in our hands. (That’s all which remained of the alcohol.) The campus had security guards, but they didn’t really bother us. We weren’t allowed to have any opened alcoholic beverages, but we knew most of the security personnel so drinking on campus was never a problem; if an administrator happened to walk by us, we would just conceal our drinks.
In our inebriated condition we stumbled towards the Aquinas Hall exit. I strolled alongside L, and his buddies lagged behind. I noticed someone headed in our direction and immediately warned L to hide his beer; he didn’t hesitate after noticing the person was “Oprah.” She was the assistant to the Head of Housing for the University. Her office was inside Aquinas Hall and she was the second in command in the housing department. Oprah was in her early thirties and she was very attractive. L was well acquainted with her, so we were forced to stop and shoot-the-shit for a few seconds. Luckily Lebron and DWade were lost, so they didn’t join us, and we eventually make it by Oprah without her noticing our drunken state. (Shoot-the-shit. What a weird saying. I don’t know about any of you, but I have yet to witness anyone shoot shit. What would be the point of that?)
Fifteen minutes later, Lebron and DWade finally exited; they came out running at full speed. They continued right passed us, and we immediately knew to get away from the building, which was located near the back entrance to the campus. Outside of the gate, Lebron told us that they ran into some lady who was asking for their IDs, because she did not recognize them as students. Needless to say, they did not cooperate. In fact, the two geniuses managed to disrespect Oprah to the point she wanted to call the police and press charges. Lebron and DWade called her a “bitch” and said, “Fuck you, we ain’t giving you shit!”
It turns out they didn’t make any effort to hide their beers. Oprah mentioned campus police, which caused Lebron and DWade to run towards the exit, firing off as many expletives as they could; the two were wise enough to exchange their guest passes for their IDs before exiting. They also signed fake names on the visitors passes, making it almost impossible for Oprah to identify them. Outside of the campus gate, and drunk, I found the entire incident to be extremely hilarious. I was too wasted to grasp the severity of the situation; I didn’t realize what actually happened, and how there was a possible paper trace leading to me. (“If you want an off day bitch, go be a secretary, I ain’t got no designated off days!” — Hollywood’s Rosebudd *Sorry, this pimpin’ thing is seriously in my blood!*)
Lebron and DWade decided it was best for them to stay away from the campus, so I walked to the student center with L, and we met up with Shawn and Dave. The party was a great event, and I returned to Aquinas Hall in the early morning. I completely forgot about the incident, until I handed the security guard my ID and he returned it with a note. (Reality sets in quick) Obviously, it was from Oprah. “Please call my office tomorrow morning, I need to speak with you.” I spoke to Oprah’s secretary and informed her that I was going home for the weekend, and wouldn’t be back until the following Tuesday; an appointment was scheduled. Lebron and DWade’s account of the incident was incomplete, but Oprah knew all of the remaining details; she gave me the full story, in her office.
Oprah’s version: “After I walked by you and L, I ran into the other two guys and noticed that they had drinks in their hands. I didn’t recognize them and knew they weren’t residents. I wanted to let them know that we had rules which applied, not only to students but, to guests as well. I was going to take the drinks and allow them to go on their way, with just a warning. And as I reached for one of the bottles, the first boy slapped my hand away and said, ‘What the fuck are you doing bitch?’ His friend was laughing and said, ‘This bitch is crazy! Bitch, don’t you know that you don’t try to take a niggas’ drink? Shit! Try to take my shit and see if I don’t slap the shit out of you’.” (Yeah, real gentlemen.) “I was stunned that they would talk to me in that manner. I let them know who I was and the response I got was basically what I came to expect from them. The taller kid said, ‘I don’t give a fuck who you are bitch, we do what the fuck we want.’ I asked for their guest passes and of course they said, ‘no.’ They ran passed me and, as they did, I tried to grab the shorter guy and I was knocked to the ground. By the time I got back on my feet and made it to the front desk, I found out that they had already retrieved their IDs, so the only way I could identify them is to have your cooperation.”
I realized what happened wasn’t just something innocent. Lebron and DWade showed complete disrespect for Oprah and for the University. I knew this wasn’t a matter in which they would be let go with a warning. The fact that she was threatened and intimidated by the two of them, was serious; they also knocked her to the ground. It clearly states in the student handbook that students found with open containers of alcohol on University property, will have the beverages confiscated. I know that she was doing her duty and they crossed the line by knocking her to the ground, but I didn’t want to be responsible for the guys being arrested, which was the main reason I had reservations about cooperating.
I did my best to distance myself from the offenders, but Oprah was adamant about that fact that I was responsible for any guests who I sign in. L was also found at fault and, because he was a commuter, she banned him from campus housing for lack of cooperation. He made it clear to Oprah that Lebron and DWade were his friends, and not mine. She felt completely disrespected and wanted the boys punished. “I would like you to help me identify the two boys who you signed in, or else your non-cooperation will probably force me to request that you are expelled from the University.” I didn’t even have to think about it. “Sorry, I can’t help you.” She was stunned, and continued to threaten me. I let her know that I understood her position, but I would rather be expelled, than cooperate. I don’t think Universities should have policies that force students to turn on one another. (This may seem crazy, but the way I looked at the situation was pretty simple. I was involved in the rule breaking activity, and I was the one who was caught. Anyone who breaks a rule, or law, has to understand the risks involved. This is a case of not snitching. Some people confuse the word snitching. They think if you live in a neighborhood and you tell the police about criminal activity, that you are snitching…DEAD WRONG! Snitching is not something that can be done by a bystander. Snitching can only be done by people who are involved in the law breaking. If someone chooses to break the law, he or she has the duty to not get caught. If a bystander witnesses your crime, that’s your problem. It’s not about snitching at that point, it’s called slipping!!!) I apologized for my involvement in the incident, and I was prepared for whatever punishment she deemed fit.
Thankfully, Oprah decided not to have me expelled. (There’s the answer to the big question!) She felt that I was never in trouble prior to the incident and was willing to give me an opportunity to make amends; it also helped that I waited until Tuesday to have the meeting, giving her time to calm down. Oprah’s decision was for me to attend an alcohol awareness workshop. The event was being presented by MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), and I quickly agreed. I also promised not to sneak any more alcohol into the dorm. Of course, that was an empty promise, which I felt was necessary, to make her feel better about the situation. I was over the legal drinking and didn’t feel it was right for me not to be able to drink un the dorm. After all, we were college students! I really wanted to attend the workshop, in an effort to show her that I was taking the episode seriously.
The workshop was to be held in the Campus Center, and was scheduled a month after the incident. The weeks went by and I totally forgot about both, the incident in Aquinas Hall, and the workshop. On March 18th, while drinking with L, he asked, “Yo, how was that alcohol thing you had to go to?” It turns out that his simple question was an extremely important one. I let him know that I hadn’t gone yet, and the more I thought about it, I was pretty certain that I had missed the date.
I called Oprah from my cell phone, knowing that I was probably in more trouble. She answered, and as soon as she realized that I was on the other line, she assumed I was calling to make sure that the event was not rescheduled. It turned out the workshop was scheduled for that evening. (I kid you not.) This was both good and bad news; I was happy that I hadn’t missed the event, but there was a slight problem. I had been drinking all day. It wasn’t the greatest idea for me to continue drinking, but I really didn’t make the best decisions while at Seton Hall University. I was in a party-all-the-time frame of mind; partying was my main priority.
The MADD workshop was scheduled to start at six O’clock. I arrived shortly after six, and was very much intoxicated. The first part was held in the hallway, just outside of the conference room. It consisted of different tables, with information about the pitfalls of alcohol abuse. One of the tables was blank except for a funny-looking pair of glasses, and on the floor, next to it, was a ten-foot line made of tape. The idea was for people to walk a straight line while wearing the “drunk goggles,” which was designed to simulate a drunken state. Students were trying to walk the line, but they found it too difficult. Oprah was stationed at this table and she waved me over; wantung to see me walk the line while wearing the goggles. Hiding the fact that I was inebriated wasn’t a big challenge, but I kept my distance to ensure that she wouldn’t smell the alcohol.
I put on the glasses and realized there was no way I could walk the line. I tilted them slightly and peeked out of the corner, in order to see the line. This adjustment allowed for me to walk the line perfectly. Everyone was amazed, and I was quick to boast that I could handle my liquor. The ironic thing about the line walking was the fact that Oprah said, “You’re probably drunk, which is having a reverse effect.” I laughed it off and she was clearly joking. I hung around the table until it was time to enter the conference room for the main part of the workshop; she seemed to warm up to me.
Inside the room, everyone was seated facing a stage. I sat next to my friend Luis, who was an RA (Resident Assistant, for those who have never attended college.), and another RA, Kim. Luis was not surprised to learn that I was forced to attend; he sat close enough to notice that I had been drinking, and he let Kim in on my little secret. They were both a bit shocked that I would drink before this event, but I let them know it wasn’t planned.
This part of the workshop was basically just different testimonials from people who had their lives altered because of alcohol abuse. There were different stories told, mostly by members of MADD who had lost children in various alcohol related tragedies. I don’t remember much, but one story will always stay with me. One of the mothers walked up to the podium carrying a poster in her left hand. Her eyes were filled with tears and she did her best to keep her composure. She was talking about her son Mitch, who was killed by a drunk driver. As she was speaking, everyone in the room was teary-eyed, and she had to take pauses in order to find the strength to continue. I was very saddened by her story, but I couldn’t stop laughing; I had to keep my head in my arms so no one noticed. I didn’t think anything she was saying was humorous, but I was so drunk that her story wasn’t registering. I had random thoughts entering my mind and I couldn’t stop them; I really can’t explain why I was laughing. At the time, I tried my best to focus on her story but I just couldn’t; I’m just glad she didn’t notice me, because that would have been traumatic. (Kids, don’t drink and attend any MADD events, it will kill your buzz! Wait, that’s not it! I guess I mean to say, don’t drink!)
Oprah met me in the hallway after the workshop, and actually thanked me for attending. I assured her she would not have to worry about me, and that there would be no more incidents. We became pretty good friends after the incident, and I kept up my end of the bargain. Not that I stopped drinking in the dorm, she just never caught me! (FRIEND ZONE like a motherfucker!)
~>Obviously, MADD is a great organization. I could never imagine what it would be like to lose a child because of a drunk driver, but I do find it interesting how quickly people are to judge the guilty. Each night, millions of Americans drive to bars, clubs, and restaurants; they drink themselves into a stupor, then drive home. In the morning, most of those people, who were guilty of driving drunk, will judge the few who were involved in fatal accidents. I’m not saying the killers are justified, but anyone who has ever driven drunk is just as guilty. (Just a thought!)<~