Harvard talks tight tailgates

While Yalies are likely to turn out tomorrow for the Bulldogs’ first home football game and the traditional tailgating associated with it, later in the season they may see more stringent regulations: Harvard officials are once again in talks to tighten alcohol enforcement policies when the sons of Eli meet the Cantabs in Massachusetts this November.

In 2002, Harvard expanded a 2000 ban on kegs in the football tailgate area, while the latest regulations include paying around $150 for a permit to transport more than a six-pack across the river, and an ID check of any students wishing to drink at the tailgate, Harvard’s Undergraduate Council President Matthew Mahan said.

“The restrictions are going to be enforced — our top priority has to be student safety,” he said.

Harvard officials are currently in negotiations with the police about the exact regulations.

The new policy debate is a response to previous games in which students were hospitalized for life-threatening cases of alcohol poisoning.

Harvard Stadium, where the Game is held, is under the jurisdiction of the Boston police as it is Charles-in Allston, not Cambridge. Boston Police told The Crimson that they have a zero-tolerance policy for alcohol, as dictated by Massachusetts state law.

“Boston police are advising Harvard what to do, and we just have to decide we actually will do,” Harvard Undergraduate Council Vice President Michael Blickstead said.

He added that the Undergraduate Council is fighting to lift the keg ban. Both he and Mahan said that they believe a ban on kegs will be more dangerous for the students.

“If you have only hard alcohol, it is difficult to know how much you are drinking,” Blickstead said.

Another drawback to banning kegs, he said, is that cans increase the amount of garbage at the game.

Mahan said if the keg ban is enacted, individual groups would be deterred from bringing their own alcohol because of the licensing process and cost.

“We need to get the university involved in bringing in alcohol,” he said.

Harvard’s Undergraduate Council is working on a proposal that would make the university responsible for arranging the use of beer trucks with kegs, with individual groups actually administering the alcohol. This would allow alcohol to enter the tailgate legally and not substantially raise its cost, he said.

Mahan said he does not know what Yale students would do if the strict regulations are mandated. The issue has left many Bulldogs up in arms.

Aaron Zelinsky ’06, who went to Harvard for the Game in 2002, said he did not think the game would be nearly as much fun with even stricter alcohol regulations.

“I cannot be that close to Harvard women for that long without a lot more than a six-pack in me,” he said.

Both Mahan and Blickstead did say, however, that they also believe too many restrictions would adversely affect the game.

“I certainly do not want to hire a police force to administer alcohol,” Mahan said. “It would be a shame if we over-regulated to the point that it was no longer a fun experience.”

Josh Bendor ’05, a veteran of several Yale-Harvard games, said he felt similarly.

“The point of the Game is not football,” he said. “It is to hang out with Yale buds.”

Representatives of Harvard’s Undergraduate College Council said they are optimistic about working through the potentially stricter alcohol policies before the game.

Both Harvard Dean Paul McLoughlin and Dean Judith Kidd, who are working on the new policies, declined to comment, but did say they would not have a definitive policy for another two weeks.

Harvard's
Eleanor Sokolow
Harvard's "no keg" rule accounts for lots of hard liquor and many cases of beer at the Harvard-Yale Game in 2002 in Cambridge, Mass.

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