University tightens tailgate rules

A University committee released a revised set of tailgating policies Thursday afternoon in response to the death of one person and injury of two others at November’s Harvard-Yale game.

University President Richard Levin and the Yale Officers approved four changes recommended by the committee. Under the new rules, kegs and “box trucks” will not be allowed at tailgates. There will be a vehicle-free student tailgating area, and students will have to leave the tailgate area by kickoff. University Vice President and Secretary Linda Lorimer said the committee recognized the popularity of tailgating among students and alumni, but was focused on creating a safer environment in light of last November’s incident.

“First and foremost, we believe there are ways to continue the tradition of tailgating,” Lorimer said. “But we did recognize that there were changes in our practices that would contribute to having a safer and more enjoyable event associated with athletic matches.”

The changes follow the Nov. 19 death of Nancy Barry, which occurred when a U-Haul bound for the Sigma Phi Epsilon tailgate at the Yale Bowl lost control and accelerated into a crowd of people in the Bowl’s Lot D.

A New Haven Police Department forensics investigation, begun immediately after the crash, is still ongoing, and NHPD spokesman David Hartman said Jan. 12 that it would be “quite some time” before the investigation is concluded.

Lorimer said the committee reviewed both Yale’s policies and those of other universities, as well as visiting stadiums at peer schools like Harvard and Princeton, in determining the new tailgate regulations.

“I’m hoping that the students don’t think we’re overreacting, particularly since it’s Princeton and Harvard,” Lorimer said. “But we think that these are responsible guidelines for going forward.”

The committee outlined its changes to the rules in a report emailed to Yale College faculty, students, masters, deans and members of the Athletic Department. The recommendation to ban kegs at tailgates cited similar practices at Harvard and Princeton. Large box trucks, including U-Hauls, will also be banned. The new regulations take effect immediately.

Tailgating logistics, which include parking, traffic control and crowd control, will be examined next by administrators and stadium safety experts, Lorimer wrote in the report.

Hartman said he thought the new rules were “well thought out” and would improve the safety of events at the Yale Bowl, but he added that banning kegs is different than banning all alcohol.

“One should be a bit cautious when relying on the elimination of kegs as opposed to the elimination of alcohol in general,” he said. “One can get more impaired off a shot of whiskey than from kegs, but that said, I understand the atmosphere is a lot different when you tap a keg, there’s a more free to drink atmosphere.”

The committee’s report comes 61 days after the fatal crash.

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