As Game nears, student groups ready for tailgate

Student groups and residential college councils have begun making arrangements for the Harvard-Yale Game next week following the Wednesday announcement by University administrators that the individual colleges and Harvard houses will be allowed to bring U-Hauls and other large vehicles into the tailgate area.

Students largely reacted to the news with relief, even though non-college student groups will not be permitted to bring in U-Hauls or similar vehicles. Even with this restriction, students involved in fraternities and other organizations said they would find a way to enjoy The Game and are not worried by the restrictions.

Council of Masters Chair Judith Krauss said two weeks ago that the University was “leaning toward” banning U-Hauls because of safety and health concerns, but administrators announced earlier this week that those restrictions would not be in place.

Students interviewed said they are looking forward to The Game and are happy The Game Committee decided not to change the rules significantly. Some students said they understood the concerns University administrators cited while considering the ban.

“The school has to be concerned about safety,” Morse College Council Student Activities Chair Peter Martin ’10 said. “It’s fair for them to set rules in the interest of our safety. But it would be very hard for organizations like the college councils to run real tailgates [without oversized vehicles.]”

Pete Martin is a staff columnist for the News.

At previous Games, groups other than residential colleges and Harvard houses could apply for permits to bring oversize vehicles to the tailgate. But because of renovations at the nearby Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center, reserved spaces in Parking Lot B, which Assistant Athletic Director Ryan Bamford said typically holds space for some of The Game’s more high-profile attendees, are no longer available.

In order to accommodate high demand for reserved parking spaces, Bamford and Director of Ticketing Operations Nancy Fryer said some patrons had been allotted spaces in Lot D Special, the traditional home of student tailgates at The Game. While University administrators said they had hoped to provide student groups a limited number of tailgate spaces, it proved difficult to do so given the parking crunch.

“There was a brief discussion about trying to give a few extra passes [for oversized vehicles],” Dean of Student Affairs Marichal Gentry said. “But to accommodate all the people we’re anticipating, this wasn’t feasible.”

Members of student groups said they hope to find alternative ways to gather and enjoy the tailgate even though they will not have the space afforded to them at past Games. Sam Strasser ’08, a member of Yale’s Beta fraternity, said brothers were aware of the lack of space and might congregate at a tailgate hosted by alumni in the alumni section of the parking area.

Other fraternities are compensating for the lack of tailgate space by throwing private parties before or after next Saturday’s game. But some fraternities are still planning on a presence at the tailgate. Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity member Clayton Crooks ’09 said he thinks the fraternity will find a way to have a presence at the tailgate.

“I’m sure we’ll come up with something,” he said. “We’ll just have whoever has the biggest car [come to the tailgate], probably.”

Although student groups will be a smaller part of this year’s tailgate, students interviewed said they are expecting a good time.

“It’s going to be insane,” Zachary Mulvihill ’11 said. “It’s going to really be crazy.”

The operational concerns cited by Gentry were the focus of a letter drafted early last week by the Yale College Council and sent to the Council of Masters. The letter, which was ratified by student activities councils or college councils in each of the 12 colleges, said U-Hauls were the only feasible means of transporting and storing large quantities of food and drink while retaining space for items, like grills and couches, often featured at college tailgates.

Krauss said the letter and student concerns were factors that led to the shift in the Council’s initial position.

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