For students and alumni at this year’s Harvard-Yale Game, the sight of residential college flags will be familiar — but their age-old U-Haul mounts may be missing.
In an effort to make the pre-Game festivities safer, the Council of Masters is currently “leaning toward” modifying the University’s Harvard-Yale tailgate policy by banning trucks and U-Haul vans from the tailgate area, Council Chair Judith Krauss said. No final decision on the ban has yet been made, but if the Council proceeds with the proposal, it would then have to be approved by the Athletics Department, Krauss said.
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News of the possible ban comes at a time when potential Game attendees already face a space crunch at the tailgate lot because of ongoing construction on the Cullman Tennis Center.
Most students interviewed said they are distressed about the potential ban on trucks and the smaller amount of space available for tailgates this year, but others said they would not be phased by the change.
Krauss said safety and health concerns prompted the masters to discuss banning trucks and U-Hauls.
“The potential for injury is high, and we clearly do not want trucks filled with kegs pouring into the tailgate,” Krauss said.
Athletics Department officials did not return calls for comment Wednesday.
Krauss said all college masters agreed at a meeting two weeks ago to pledge their support once again to the dry college tailgate policy, which was implemented two years ago. Under the policy, residential college tailgates cannot serve alcohol.
But pursuant to Connecticut law, student groups that wish to serve alcohol are allowed to do so, Krauss said.
“I don’t think it will make a difference if we enforce [dry college tailgates],” she said. “Most of [the masters] are still planning to throw fabulous tailgates with great food and alternative drinks.”
But students may face another change this year in planning their Game festivities.
Because of construction, parking options near the Yale Bowl will be much tighter than they have been for past tailgates, Yale Athletics Department Director of Ticket Operations Nancy Fryer said. Construction has taken over a lot that traditionally held spaces reserved for other Game attendees, she said.
As a result of the crunch, reserved parking for the Game has already sold out in some lots, and a number of spaces traditionally occupied by student tailgates have been sold to alumni and other patrons who wrote in requesting spaces, Fryer said.
Student groups have already felt the squeeze. For the past two weeks, the Yale Student Activities Committee has searched for a place to host its annual “S’wings Wings” chicken wing-eating competition, YSAC S’wings Wings Event Chair Stanley Yu ’10 said. When YSAC representatives contacted University officials regarding space for the event at the tailgate, they were told there was no more space available in the usual tailgate lot, Yu said.
Instead, YSAC was offered a spot in “Bulldog Lot,” which lies beyond the equestrian barn and close to the lacrosse field, Yu said, but YSAC is hesitant to use the alternate spot because group members are afraid that students may not be able to find the event.
“I don’t want to have it there,” Yu said. “Students are not going to want to walk two blocks to a place they’ve never been to.”
But the foremost concern for students interviewed is the possible new policy prohibiting allowing trucks.
Timothy Dwight College Student Activities Committee member Dallas Hansen ’10 said he is disappointed and thinks the potential ban is unnecessary. He said he is unsure how the new policy might affect The Game.
“It sucks,” he said. “It could be fun. It could be not fun at all.”
Tina Cheung ’09 said she loved the bonfires and grills that trucks and U-Hauls made possible at The Game tailgate her freshman year.
But for students like Ray Park ’09, who “don’t drink to get drunk,” the change means little. Park said he is unconcerned about the prospect of the new rule.
All potential changes to tailgate regulations will have to be finalized by the Athletics Department, which owns the tailgate space.