Editorials

Shame for 'St. Fratty's' shared by all

These photos show the scene before and after a roof collapsed Saturday, March 7, on Hathway Street near Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo.
These photos show the scene before and after a roof collapsed Saturday, March 7, on Hathway Street near Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. Courtesy of SLO Police Department

Darn those leprechauns and their tiny little end-of-the-rainbow pots of gold! We thought it would be really cute to load one of those wee cauldrons with beer-braised brickbats we’re delivering to some key players in the St. Fratty’s Day fracas. But one tiny pot isn’t nearly large enough, so we’ll have to settle for a green Hefty bag.

Without further ado, brickbats and a shake of our shillelagh go to:

Those responsible for bastardizing the name of St. Patrick by turning St. Patty’s Day into “St. Fratty’s Day.” This merry band of miscreants may already have departed Polyland because we’re told this tradition has been around for several years. There’s even a fun video of somebody sliding off a roof during last year’s Fratty-fest!

Local law enforcement. Given the storied history of St. Fratty’s Day (see above) why were university and SLO city police caught off guard when students in St. Fratty’s Day attire began pouring from dorms in the wee hours of the morning?

Cal Poly officials, for issuing the same wooden rhetoric about taking the issue “very seriously” and responding “swiftly and appropriately” once they have “all the facts.” And let’s not forget this chestnut: “Behavior like this has no place in San Luis Obispo and is counter to the expectation we have of Cal Poly students.” Sadly, the loutish behavior may be counter to the expectations of Poly administrators, but it’s what many in the community have grown to expect.

Those wild and crazy kids! Not all 3,000 or so attendees deserve a brickbat — not even a Hefty bag will hold that many — so we’ll reserve them for the organizers. Way to show absolutely no concern about the safety and well-being of your fellow students not to mention those residents unlucky enough to live within earshot of your early-morning bacchanal. But, hey, at least you had the decency to hold the party well in advance of finals, because we wouldn’t want anyone’s grades to suffer.

The founders of Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and any remaining social media sites that no one over 22 has even heard about. It’s their fault that some students were so preoccupied with capturing the event for posterity that when a garage roof collapsed beneath dozens of students, many kept right on filming ... and cheering!

And finally, a bottom-of-the-bag brickbat goes to the builder of the garage, for lacking the foresight to design the roof of said structure to hold at least 40 or 50 healthy college students. Remember, this is a college town, and we must be prepared for all manner of spring-break-style shenanigans no matter what the calendar says.

But enough negativity!

At least we’re seeing some positive results. For instance, SLO Police Chief Steve Gesell says his department has learned a major lesson, and from now on will keep better tabs on social media so as to find out about large-scale events before they happen.

City officials are exploring the idea of passing an ordinance that would make all roofs off-limits to everybody, except for those conducting maintenance or installation projects. (No word on whether stringing Christmas lights would count as an installation project.)

And on Thursday, Cal Poly sponsored a well-attended community forum to encourage “dialogue.”

We don’t know how practical or effective these efforts may be, but we offer bouquets of wilted shamrocks for giving it the old college try.

On a sincere note, we toss bouquets of Irish heather to all who helped the injured students, from medical personnel to those bystanders who had the presence of mind to lend a hand.

And to all you St. Pat’s Day revelers who plan to party this weekend and/or on March 17, we offer four-leaf clovers — providing you promise not to bring down a roof.

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