Tailgaters must apply for space

Elis preparing for this year’s Harvard-Yale tailgate will need a warm jacket, money for beer — and a No. 2 pencil.

All Harvard student groups hoping to host tailgates at The Game this year must submit an application to the Harvard College Dean’s Office by Monday, Oct. 23, according to a Web site launched this week by Harvard, and a separate application process will be created for Yale students. Yale administrators and students at both schools said they think the new regulation may discourage groups from planning tailgates.

Students at the 2005 Harvard-Yale game imbibe at a tailgate. All student groups wishing to host a tailgate this year must fill out applications.
Ed Stein
Students at the 2005 Harvard-Yale game imbibe at a tailgate. All student groups wishing to host a tailgate this year must fill out applications.

The new application policy is due to a “limited amount of space” at Ohiri Field, where the tailgates will be held, according to the Web site. The application requests general information about any group wishing to throw a tailgate party and a list of items the group will bring onto the field. In addition, applicants must submit an essay about their tailgate plans and how they will make their event “unique.”

YCC Secretary Zach Marks ’09 said the application requirement seems “a little silly,” but he doubts the process will affect student turnout at either the tailgates or The Game.

“You’d think once we were here we’d be done writing admissions essays,” Marks said. “I think Yale students know how to have a good time … [and] I don’t think it is going to discourage any committed partiers.”

Only Harvard House Committees will be guaranteed a tailgating space, while other groups may be turned down, Harvard “fun czar” John Drake told the Harvard Crimson. In a departure from Harvard’s 2004 policy, the university will again allow U-Hauls — which were previously banned for safety reasons — into the tailgating area.

Drake could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

The application requirement follows a September announcement that tailgaters will not be permitted to bring alcohol of any kind onto the field this year. Instead, Harvard-sponsored bartenders will sell beer and spiked hot chocolate to those over 21, the Harvard College Dean’s Office said.

Some University administrators, as well as Yale and Harvard students, said the new hoop to jump through may lower attendance at the tailgates and detract from the generally relaxed atmosphere of The Game.

Judith Krauss, the Silliman master and the head of the Council of Masters, said that even before the new regulations, coordinating a tailgate in Cambridge was difficult. The additional hurdle may further discourage groups from planning tailgates, she said.

“It’s always been difficult to plan a tailgate so far away,” Krauss said. “I think with all of the various rules and the application, it’s going to be hard for people to pull off a tailgate.”

Justin Baker ’07 said he does not think any of the regulations will prevent students from drinking and partying, but that some of the excitement of the weekend will be lost in all the red tape.

“I think what makes tailgates fun is its spontaneity — people showing up and setting up,” he said.

Harvard junior Michael Badgley said that in light of the “crazy things” that have gone on at past tailgates, there should be guidelines in place to protect students, especially when space is limited. But he said he does not think an application process is appropriate for an event like a campus-wide football tailgate that is “supposed to be inclusive.”

Although many students will still be eager for the tailgates because the weekend is “the extent of Harvard football,” Badgley said, he probably will skip the tailgate and head straight to The Game itself.

“I don’t think you should have to write an essay so that you should get to have some space to hang out with your friends at a football game,” he said.

Some student said they worry that Yale will implement more restrictions when The Game returns to New Haven next year in response to Harvard’s policy. But Dean of Student Affairs Betty Trachtenberg said it is too early to know if Yale will adopt a similar policy next year.

“Would we do something like that? I don’t know,” Trachtenberg said. “It may work there so well that everybody, including all the students, would think it was the best thing since sliced bread. … I’m not going to make a prediction about what we’re going to do a year from now.”

Yale College Dean Peter Salovey said that although he is unfamiliar with the new requirement, the Yale administration will support Harvard’s decisions regarding tailgating.

“Yale College will support policies that contribute to [the] health and safety of students at the Game,” he said.

—Contributing reporter Michael Kim contributed to this article.

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