New tailgate rules released

Yale officials announced Monday new tailgate restrictions for all future home football games, including the Nov. 19 Yale-Harvard game in New Haven.

The new rules, which will take effect in time for the Yale-Brown game on Nov. 5, include some restrictions not seen in past years, such as a ban on drinking games and a time limit on tailgating activities, which will be shut down after halftime, Dean of Student Affairs Betty Trachtenberg said. While some students said they are disappointed with the change in regulations, many said they think the new rules are not too restrictive and could encourage more students to attend at least the second half of the football game.

The regulations were issued by the Yale College Dean’s Office in collaboration with the Athletics Department, the Council of Masters and the University Police. Trachtenberg said administrators want the tailgating regulations to be straightforward and easy to enforce.

“We decided to err on the side of simplicity,” she said.

Unlike the regulations introduced by Harvard University for the 2004 Harvard-Yale game — which included bans on kegs, U-Hauls and Winnebagos, and detailed rules about the type and amount of alcohol each student could carry into the tailgate area — Yale has opted for a list of eight rules, three of which concern the behavior of people attending the tailgate.

Yale College Dean Peter Salovey, who is currently chairing a committee reviewing University alcohol policy, said he thinks the strict “fenced-in” approach taken by Harvard last year is not necessarily the most effective way to encourage alcohol safety.

“We think creating a climate where people are expected to behave in mature and healthy ways and look out for each other’s safety is a better approach than a long list [of rules],” he said.

The new rules state that drinking games and drinking game paraphernalia are no longer permitted at Yale tailgates and will be confiscated if seen by security personnel or University police, said Judith Krauss, head of the Council of Masters. She said she thinks these games encourage irresponsible alcohol consumption and do not represent the spirit of the event.

“Tailgates should not be for the sole purpose of getting drunk,” Krauss said.

Prohibited drinking paraphernalia will include, but is not limited to, funnels, luges and beer pong materials, Trachtenberg said.

Many students said they do not support the ban on drinking games, but are not concerned that the new regulation will significantly impact their tailgate experience.

“I haven’t seen a lot of beer pong at tailgates,” Hillary Bailey ’08 said. “That’s not to say it won’t be missed.”

Miguel Agrait ’06 said while playing beer pong outdoors is not practical because of wind, beer bonging is a popular part of the festivities. But the rule will not stop people from drinking as much as they want, he said.

In a departure from previous years, Yale will now require all tailgate parties to shut down at the end of halftime and fans will be asked to leave the area during the second half of the game, Krauss said.

“We think this is a reasonable period of time for people to gather and socialize,” she said. “And we are not applying these rules singularly to students.”

While some students said they are unhappy with the time limit, others said they are not disappointed, because they think more students will attend the game as a result.

Haven Reininger ’08 said he does not mind the new rule because he prefers to stop at tailgate parties to get a beer and a burger before watching the game.

“It’s kind of pathetic to go to a tailgate to get drunk and go back home,” he said. “I can’t see this ruining our time at all.”

Agrait, one of the students in charge of organizing the Silliman tailgate, said organizers in previous years were unable to watch any of the game because they had to host and clean up after the party.

But some students said they think the rule will make the tailgate less fun, without encouraging more people to go to the game.

Alex Andrews ’08 said the regulation unfairly penalizes those who go to Yale-Harvard for the tailgate and are not interested in the game itself.

“Stopping [the parties] at halftime seems kind of arbitrary,” he said. “Odds are a lot of those people won’t go to the game.”

The third rule concerning tailgating behavior stipulates that no one may sit on top of trucks or other vehicles during the tailgate. Krauss said the regulation was because people had sustained injuries after falling from the tops of trucks and cabs at past tailgates.

Yale Police Chief James Perrotti said officers from his department and other security personnel will be on hand to enforce the new rules as well as state laws regarding alcohol distribution and consumption. He said the officers will likely give out warnings for first-time offenses and will avoid making arrests when possible. Underage drinking is not allowed at the tailgate and officers may ask students to provide identification upon request, Perrotti said.

Many students said the new regulations are better than those imposed at last year’s Harvard-Yale game.

Agrait said he believes Harvard’s ban on kegs last year caused more people to drink hard liquor and led to more hospitalizations — a claim Boston police also made last year.

“Allowing kegs again is a great idea” Agrait said. “When they didn’t allow them last year people were using grain [alcohol], and that is a bad idea.”

The other new guidelines concern the placement and proper usage of U-Haul trucks and other oversize vehicles. Krauss said these rules are related more to security concerns than issues of alcohol consumption.

During the Yale-Harvard game, Special Lot D will be reserved exclusively for trucks from the Harvard and Yale residential halls. Each college and house will be allowed only “one U-Haul type vehicle” in order to reduce crowding, Krauss said. The tailgate areas will open at 9:30 a.m., but no trucks will be allowed in after 11 a.m.

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