OPINION: Have empathy for students who are transported

A collage of red solo cups, arms crossed and an ambulance.
(Emily Briones • The Student Life)

“I totally blacked out last night!” and “Did you hear X got transported?” are typical conversation starters at dining hall brunch on Friday morning. Getting transported — which means that Emergency Services comes and takes you to Pomona Valley Hospital due to alcohol or drug poisoning — isn’t anyone’s ideal ending to a night out. 

With recent parties shut down because of student transports, it is understandable that many people are frustrated. We only have a few years of college, and it’s disappointing when events we look forward to aren’t what we expect. People become upset about paying money and having events end early, and many juniors and seniors feel frustrated about nights out being cut short, especially when it’s one of their last opportunities to attend parties. These feelings are valid and understandable. 

On Oct. 28, Claremont McKenna College students were sent an email from ASCMC President Josh Nagra CM ’23 addressing why the Monte Carlo party ended early. The reason listed was a “significant number of medical incidents, including some paramedic transports due to excessive alcohol use and illicit drugs. At a certain point, emergency services were overwhelmed by activity at CMC and the other campuses and temporarily could not take on any more patients.”

I noticed many people saying that the transports ruined the party and that punishing everyone for a relatively small group of individuals’ actions was unfair. While I do see how it’s frustrating for someone who spent money and looked forward to an event to have it cut short, I think this type of rhetoric is concerning. If students needed to be taken in large droves for emergency treatment for alcohol and drug poisoning, then multiple members of our student body were in danger. We need to respond with care and concern, not with anger and pointing fingers. Also, it is unfair to attack ASCMC for shutting down an event for safety concerns. If emergency services were overwhelmed, then for the safety of the community, shutting down the event was for the best. 

When something goes wrong, the human impulse is to find someone to blame. But blaming those who get transported does more harm than good. It isn’t going to change the past. All it does is make them feel socially isolated. The moment someone is profusely vomiting, being placed on a stretcher and having their stomach pumped, they know they made a mistake. We don’t need to remind them. 

A lot of people first experiment with partying and drinking in college. Part of that process is figuring out what a healthy amount of drinks is right for your body and learning how to navigate new social situations. The pressure of these social interactions means many people lean on alcohol to curb social anxiety. Also, the peer pressure to binge drink and keep up with others’ paces means someone could easily lose track of how much alcohol they’ve consumed. 

I remember walking into Valach Courtyard for Thursday TNC, and there was a crowd of people surrounding someone. The person was throwing up and receiving support from medical staff. People were crowding them, laughing and even filming the situation for Snapchat. They were standing around like they were watching a car crash. We need to do better. 

It’s important to be kind to each other and treat people with respect. Make sure your friends are drinking water and pacing themselves. Respect people’s decisions not to drink, and don’t judge people for making mistakes by drinking too much. We should show discretion, care and empathy to our peers who get transported. 

If we don’t show care in these situations, it could really hurt someone’s confidence in attending parties in the future. They’re probably already embarrassed or distressed from this experience. Think about if you were in their shoes. Let’s all take care of each other and remember that we are all human and make mistakes. 

The important thing is that the person isn’t seriously hurt. Let’s focus on the fact they got help in time and be conscious that our peer has gone through a stressful experience. Don’t antagonize them for getting alcohol poisoning. Make them feel supported and be grateful they’re okay.  

Anna Tolkien CM ’24 is a literature and film dual major. She loves her pugs, creative writing and iced coffee.


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