Despite stricter regulations announced prior to Saturday’s tailgate, the number of alcohol-related hospitalizations at this weekend’s Harvard-Yale festivities increased dramatically from when The Game was last held in Boston.
Nine people were transported to the hospital on Saturday for alcohol-related reasons, a spokesman for the Harvard University Police Department, Steven Catalano, said Monday. In 2006, two students were removed from the tailgate for alcohol poisoning, though only one was taken to the hospital, Harvard officials said at the time.
Both totals, however, pale in comparison to the 30 students who were hospitalized for alcohol-related reasons at the Harvard-Yale game in 2004. That rash of hospitalizations spurred increased tailgate restrictions at each of the past two editions of The Game in Boston.
But despite regulations this weekend that, on paper, were stricter than ever before, students said it was easier to obtain alcohol at Saturday’s tailgate — or at least smuggle it in — than it was two years ago. In other words, stricter rules did not translate to stricter enforcement.
In 2006, the only way for students to get alcohol at the tailgate was by purchasing it from Harvard bartenders. This year, Yale’s residential colleges and Harvard’s houses were allowed to serve alcohol to students who had a wristband indicating they were over 21.
Many colleges and houses seemed to ignore the wristbands, however, and served alcohol to everyone at the tailgate, according to students who attended. Still, Catalano said HUPD and the Boston Police made only one arrest for a minor being in possession of alcohol.
According to this year’s tailgate rules, which were sent out by Harvard Campus Life Fellow Jason McCoy, better known to Cantabs as the school’s “fun czar,” individual students were not allowed to bring alcohol into the tailgate. But students entering the tailgate were not searched as they were in previous years. Many students brought their own alcohol to the pre-Game festivities without any interference from police; they sipped from flasks and water bottles before, during and after the tailgate.
Other rules were not strictly enforced, either.
This year, colleges were prohibited from bringing in outside caterers for their tailgates. Courtney Pannell ’11, who ran the Morse College tailgate, said no one tried to stop her when she brought in caterers to The Game. (Pannell is a staff reporter for the News.)
In addition to alcohol related-incidents, Catalone said there was one mutual assault and battery incident between a student and an individual not affiliated with either Harvard or Yale. One student was also stopped for public urination, he said.
At last year’s Game in New Haven, Yale University Police Department officers issued only six infractions. None involved alcohol, and none of them were issued to people enrolled at or affiliated with the University.
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