U-Hauls and other larger vehicles will be permitted in the student tailgate area during the Harvard-Yale football game next weekend, University officials told the News on Tuesday.
Following an announcement two weeks ago that University administrators had not yet decided whether to allow such vehicles, student groups had worried that the popular tailgate accessory would be banned from this year’s Game, which already faces a space crunch because of a shortage of parking spaces due to renovations of the nearby Cullman Tennis Center.
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Despite a proposal floated at a Council of Masters meeting last month, a committee charged with coordinating the 124th Harvard-Yale matchup finalized plans Tuesday that permit 25 U-Hauls and similar vehicles in the student tailgate area, designated “Lot D Special,” administrators said.
Under the regulations, which Dean of Student Affairs Marichal Gentry said will soon be posted online, each Yale residential college and Harvard house will be allotted one pass for a “box/moving truck”-type vehicle shorter than 14 feet in length. As in 2005, oversized vehicles will not be allowed in any other Yale Bowl parking lot.
The Council of Masters was initially “leaning toward” the U-Haul-free tailgate policy in light of student safety and health concerns, Council Chair Judith Krauss said. Students responded to that proposal with concern, maintaining they would need a reliable conveyance mechanism in order to transport necessary supplies like food, grills and coolers to and from the Game.
“The students made good points,” Krauss said. “So we adjusted our policy.”
A letter drafted last Monday by the Yale College Council and then ratified by the student activities committee or residential college council from all 12 colleges argued that large trucks facilitate the shutting down of the tailgate during halftime and provide a rallying point for students.
Members of the Game Committee, which includes residential college masters and officials from the Yale Police Department, the Yale College Dean’s Office, the Athletics Department and the President’s Office, said the letter was “very thoughtful” and helped them arrive at a consensus about the tailgate policy during a meeting last Wednesday.
“I think the YCC did a very good job with this on such short notice,” YCC Vice President Emily Schofield ’09, who worked on the letter, said. “We are always happy to voice student concerns on issues like this.”
Gentry said members of the committee came to last week’s meeting “prepared to talk about how to make sure people have a good time.”
“We’re anticipating a big crowd,” he said. “We want people to come celebrate the oldest tradition in college football.”
Gentry said Game policies the University implemented in 2005 — which call for tailgates to shut down at halftime, outlaw drinking games and paraphernalia such as beer bongs, and prohibit students from sitting or standing atop vehicles — will remain in place this year.
Students can also expect a stronger police presence than they would find at most tailgates. In an interview two weeks ago, Krauss confirmed that, as in years past, this year’s Game will be monitored by a combination of YPD officers and their New Haven Police Department counterparts.
This year’s Game will be the first meeting of Yale and Harvard played in New Haven since the passage of a 2006 Connecticut state law criminalizing the possession of alcohol by minors on private property.
The 2006 law expands police powers of citation to include the tailgate area, which is owned by the University, Assistant Athletic Director Ryan Bamford said.
Administrators will also take measures to protect New Have residents who live near the Yale Bowl.
Gentry said this year’s Game crowd, which is expected to be larger than usual because both teams are currently undefeated in Ivy League play, will find three to four times the number of portable toilets as in years past.
In addition, Gentry said, the committee decided to erect a temporary fence to prevent the crowd from spilling into private residential property.