The above is a screen capture of a Facebook page dedicated to ending the Slotopia beach party event.
The above is a screen capture of a Facebook page dedicated to ending the Slotopia beach party event.

Cal Poly students wanted to show their University of California, Santa Barbara rivals that they could party harder — undoubtedly a difficult feat. Yet, Slotopia, the potentially destructive Shell Beach party that attracted over 4,700 confirmed guests on Facebook, also garnered the attention of the Pismo Beach Police Department, which essentially shut down the event.

Cal Poly agricultural business student Ryan Magill created the Facebook group for Slotopia, which was scheduled for Saturday, to mimic UCSB’s Floatopia. The April 4 Isla Vista all day beach party drew approximately 10,000 people, 13 arrests, 78 citations, 33 people treated at local hospitals and more than $20,000 in expenses for local government agencies, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Brian Olmstead told the San Luis Obispo Tribune.

Stephan Lamb, Cal Poly associate director of Student Life and Leadership, met with Magill to discuss the environmental and safety concerns as well as legislation regarding alcohol. People consuming alcohol in public could receive fines up to $500 each and up to six months in jail, Lamb said. Magill, as the host of the party, would incur all the damages and cost of employing government agencies, he added. After the meeting, Magill declared the event canceled on Facebook along with state laws concerning alcohol consumption on public beaches.

“We were facing potentially charging (Magill) for extra police, and if the event were to take place, we are talking literally thousands of dollars,” Lamb said.

While the university doesn’t have the power to cancel the potential “nightmare,” as Lamb described it, they are still able to have “pretty upfront conversations” with Magill.

But Cal Poly art and design junior Adam Wirdak said Cal Poly shouldn’t get involved at all because someone will find a way to trace it back to the university.

Not all students agree.

“I think the college should encourage students not to do it,” Cal Poly electrical engineering senior Justin Rucker said. “It’s part of the responsibility of campus administration to help with a community issue.” Rucker says he would still go Saturday just out of curiosity, along with a lot of other people, he speculated.

“I think it’s Cal Poly’s responsibility to make a statement and take initiative in informing people of university standards,” Cal Poly art and design junior Xander Pollock said, adding that if it is a national event he wouldn’t want the university’s reputation as an academic institution compromised. “We don’t want to slip into Santa Barbara’s reputation.”

The cancellation of the party wouldn’t deter many students because of the rivalry with Santa Barbara, Cal Poly nutrition senior Kaitlin Gallivan said.

“The majority will still show up because they don’t think there will be consequences.” Gallivan said she would still go if it is a nice day. “It wouldn’t be different than any other day at the beach, just more people would show up. I think people will have to be more careful about alcohol, but there are easy ways around that.”

Cal Poly political science freshman Erin Schulz and English freshman Brita Shallcross said it is in a student’s nature to go against authority and recognized that because police can only write so many tickets, the situation could get out of hand.

Shell Beach is known for its private location and laid back atmosphere where people often drink a few beers while enjoying the sun.

“I think it has historically been a low key beach,” Lamb said. “Things have been tolerated because there haven’t been problems. It would be sad if all this notoriety changes how this beach has been treated traditionally and ruins it for everyone else.”

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  1. The Los Angelization of San Luis Obispo is nearly complete. Soon, my minions, soon We have conquered the land and the air, and now… the sea!

  2. Bummer that is got canceled… I know someone that owns a store in Isla Vista, where they had floatopia earlier in April this year and she said that their business quadrupled during that weekend. Floatopia could have been a great influx of cash for local businesses in an economy that isn’t doing too well on its own.

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