While the results of the actual football game have yet to be played out, Yale may already have Harvard beat in at least one arena: the tailgate.
The 2009 guidelines for Saturday’s Harvard-Yale tailgate are largely unchanged from the last time Yale hosted The Game, in 2007. But while the rules are significantly more lax than Harvard’s rules at last year’s Game, Yale University Chief of Police James Perrotti said his department will be focusing on alcohol infractions this weekend.
None of the students interviewed expressed concern that the extended tailgate would encourage excessive drinking. But Dean of Student Affairs Marichal Gentry said in a campuswide e-mail Wednesday that the number of alcohol-related transports to the hospital so far this semester has exceeded the number from the entire 2008-’09 academic year.
“I don’t foresee it getting out of control,” Berkeley College Council representative Ploy Urapeepatanapong ’12 said.
She added, for example, that the Yale Police Department’s policy of holding vehicle keys during the game and returning them only once the tailgating truck is actually leaving ensures that drivers are sober. Though college masters pledged in 2007 to keep residential college tailgates dry, Connecticut law allows student groups to serve alcohol to fans over age 21.
The released guidelines also prohibit drinking games, alcohol paraphernalia, tents, gas-powered electric generators and standing on top of trucks or vehicles.
Perrotti said The Game is a “big deal” for the department, and that enforcement will be focusing on excessive drinking and its associated behavior this weekend. He added that the department’s protocol this year will not be significantly different than in the past.
“What we’re really hoping for is that it’s better this year and that people act responsibly,” Perrotti said. “Is there a reason for optimism? I don’t know. There will be if people act responsibly.”
The guidelines specify that Yale’s residential colleges and Harvard’s houses are each permitted moving trucks that measure 14 feet or smaller and can be parked in the student tailgate area starting Saturday morning. A limited number of additional parking spaces are also available to U-Hauls and trucks, with a $15 permit that can be bought from the Athletics ticket office. Furthermore, fans can continue to tailgate until the start of the third quarter.
By contrast, at last year’s Bulldog-Crimson matchup, Harvard banned U-Hauls and forced tailgating to end by kickoff, in accordance with city tailgating statutes. Though most of Harvard’s campus is in Cambridge, Mass., the football stadium is under Boston’s jurisdiction.
But Gentry said that when evaluating the 2007 policy, the committee did not regard Harvard’s changes because New Haven law enforcement operates differently from Boston’s.
“We don’t compare ourselves to Harvard,” he said. “We have a better space than they do.”
Urapeepatanapong said ending tailgating at halftime makes for a much better-attended event.
“It’s an extended party,” she said.
Though four of the 12 students interviewed said they did not have strong opinions on the issue, a majority said they were pleased with the less stringent rules. Andy Dewitt ’11 said U-Hauls, with their capacity for storing couches, stereo systems and grills, are important to tailgating because they give students a place to congregate, rather than “wandering aimlessly.”
Nick Simmons ’11 added that fans should have the opportunity to tailgate past kickoff if they want.
“Yale is awesome,” he said. “It is definitely a huge upgrade [from last year].”
Above all, Gentry emphasized that there was little need for improvement from past years.
“We’ve talked a bit more about the section with hamburgers, trying to beef that up a little,” he added. “No pun intended.”
For more Harvard-Yale coverage, visit yaledailynews.com/thegame.