Administrators lifted a ban on residential colleges serving alcohol at this year’s Harvard-Yale game tailgates Monday evening.
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In a Sunday night email to the News, Council of Masters chair Frank Keil wrote that residential college tailgates were prohibited from serving alcohol at this year’s game — a change from 2010, when colleges could provide alcohol to those of age. Though Yale College Council President Brandon Levin ’13 said he was unaware of the shift in tailgate regulations as of Sunday night, Levin spent Monday in meetings with members of the administration after being informed of the stricter tailgate alcohol policy by the News. Following a day of negotiations between administrators and YCC representatives, Keil informed the YCC Monday evening that college tailgates would be allowed to serve alcohol to those of legal drinking age.
Despite the administration’s Monday night announcement that college tailgates could serve alcohol, Keil said the statement was a “clarification” rather than a policy reversal. The modified regulation specifies that specially colored wristbands will distinguish students of age and that students ages 21 and older will be permitted to consume alcohol in the tailgate area. Colleges are not allowed to put University funds toward purchasing alcohol, he added.
“I believe the current statement reflects what was intended all along,” Keil wrote in a Monday night email to the News.
The YCC and residential college councils were never told by administrators that college tailgates would be banned from serving alcohol, Levin said, adding that some college masters and deans had already approved plans to provide alcohol at tailgates.
Levin said he was concerned that if alcohol were banned at college tailgates, students would either pregame the event more heavily or seek alcohol from less-monitored organizations, such as fraternities. He added that administrators were receptive to those concerns.
“I think the [significance] for the administrators was complying with the law and ensuring that students who can legally drink can do so in a safe environment at tailgates,” Levin said.
The debate over alcohol regulations for the Harvard-Yale game came on the heels of a number of new tailgate guidelines that were announced in September. Under these rules, registered tailgates may serve alcohol from registered kegs to student of legal drinking age identified by wristbands. Though student groups had expressed concern over the banning of U-Hauls outlined in the September revisions, Natalie Gonzalez, associate director for varsity sports administration and chair of the committee that reviewed tailgate regulations, added Monday that U-Hauls will be permitted at the Harvard-Yale tailgate.
While some believed the tailgating rules issued in September were adopted specifically to address issues that arise at the Harvard-Yale game, Gonzalez said the committee had discussed revising the rules for the past few years, and added that they will continue to be enforced during next year’s football season.
Nathaniel Zelinsky ’13, co-chair of the Davenport College Student Activities Committee, said he thought banning alcohol at college tailgates would increase reckless drinking. Davenport will provide alcohol as long as it remains in compliance with rules issued by the college’s master, Zelinsky said.
Even if allowed, not all colleges are planning to provide alcohol. College council members from Jonathan Edwards, Calhoun and Pierson said their tailgates have historically not served alcohol because complications can arise with underage students.
Jared Middleman ’13, a member of the Pierson College SAC, said Pierson never serves alcohol at any of its tailgates.
“Things get more complicated quickly once you introduce options,” Middleman said.
Ten students interviewed Monday — while alcohol was still barred from college tailgates — said they did not think their Game experience would significantly suffer under the stricter regulations, but all also expressed concern about the new policy leading to more under-the-table drinking.
Bo Reynolds ’13 said he suspected alcohol would appear at tailgates even if the administration did not allow colleges to serve it.
“I don’t think they’ll be able to enforce it,” he said.
Tailgating will end at halftime Saturday.