Tailgate rules draw little protest

As the second half of Saturday’s Yale-Brown football game kicked off, a few dozen tailgaters remained in Special Lot D outside the Yale Bowl, finishing off kegs and dumping out grills as police officers asked stragglers to pack up their cars and head into the stadium.

This weekend marked the first home football game conducted under the new tailgating rules announced by the Yale College Dean’s Office last month. While some disgruntled fans were slow to leave the parking lot, the rules were enforced without any major problems, Yale Police Lt. Michael Patten said. Though the regulations state that all tailgate parties must close “for the day” after halftime, Patten said fans are allowed back into the tailgating area for up to one hour after the end of football games so they can pack up to go home.

Patten said the police would have preferred for fans to have packed up more quickly, but he was pleased with the general ease of enforcement at the tailgate.

“It was pretty mellow,” he said. “That’s what we were hoping for.”

The eight new tailgating regulations, which have prompted mixed reactions from Yale students and alumni, stipulate that fans may not play drinking games, stand or sit on top of trucks and other vehicles, or continue tailgating activities past halftime.

Three police officers and a few administrators from the Athletics Department were present to enforce the new rules during Saturday’s tailgate. Patten said neither the New Haven Police nor the University Police assigned more officers than usual to the Yale-Brown game.

Several students said the Yale-Brown tailgate turnout was significantly lower than that of the average home game, despite clear skies and a relatively warm temperature. Some attributed the low attendance to midterms, while others said the new rules may have been partly to blame.

“I don’t think it’s the rules so much as it is midterms,” Katie Ramsey ’06 said. “Or it might just be that people don’t want to put in much effort before Yale-Harvard.”

Gabriel Diaz ’08 said that although food preparation was somewhat hurried, the time constraints encouraged tailgate hosts to work together to ensure that everyone got enough to eat before halftime.

“The tailgate is a flower that is blooming in the adversity of the new rules,” he said.

Although some students said they are still bothered by the ban on drinking games, a few said the rule did not affect the amount of drinking at tailgates.

“I don’t think drinking games are a big part of [tailgates],” Chris Schmicker ’08 said.

Ramsey, who helped set up the Trumbull College tailgate, said the new rules did not affect the atmosphere at the tailgate.

“The only thing that changed is now the policemen tell us to pack up at halftime,” she said.

The Nov. 19 Yale-Harvard game will be the next and final home football game this season.

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