Administrators restrict tailgating

The University announced a stricter set of tailgating regulations on Thursday in the wake of a fatal crash that occurred at the Harvard-Yale tailgate in November.

The new guidelines ban kegs and “box trucks,” establish a vehicle-free tailgating zone and require that all attendees leave the student tailgating area by kickoff. The rules were recommended by a committee formed to review tailgating practices after the death of one person and injury of two others at the Nov. 19 Harvard-Yale game, and released in a campus-wide email from University Vice President and Secretary Linda Lorimer. All were approved by University President Richard Levin and Yale’s other officers, and will take effect immediately.

“We thought that the whole idea is that this is a community event, a football game, and not merely an outdoor party,” Levin said. “It seemed like a way to put a proper balance between those.”

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

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 tighter regulations are designed to preserve the tailgating tradition for students and alumni while ensuring a safer environment for attendees.

“First and foremost, we believe there are ways to continue the tradition of tailgating,” Lorimer told the News Thursday. “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.”

Associate Vice President for Administration Janet Lindner, who oversaw the committee, said in a Thursday email that the new rules resulted from consulting with peer institutions and visiting tailgates at Harvard, the Ohio State University and Michigan University. The tighter regulations bring Yale’s policies in line with those of other Ivy League schools and institutions with large football programs, she added.

Yale College Dean Mary Miller said the committee based its recommendation to ban kegs on tailgating policies at Harvard and Princeton, noting that the decision will create consistency at tailgates hosted by Yale and its two greatest rivals.

While NHPD spokesman David Hartman said he thought the new rules were “well thought-out” and would improve the safety of events at the Yale Bowl, he added that banning kegs is different than prohibiting 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.”

Box trucks, which include U-Hauls, have also been banned from tailgates under the new guidelines. Director of Athletics Tom Beckett said professional catering companies will set up refreshment tables before students arrive, eliminating the need to transport cooking supplies, food and beverages to tailgates.

The student tailgate area will be “vehicle-free” except for trucks operated by the catering companies, and all attendees will have to leave by kickoff. Previous regulations required students to leave the tailgate by halftime.

With the new regulations announced, Lindner said the committee reviewing tailgating policies will next collaborate with the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security, a center at the University of Southern Mississippi that specializes in sports and stadium management, to outline tailgate logistics in more detail. She added that administrators will also consult student groups, alumni and those closely involved with Yale football for further input.

Administrators previously imposed a series of stricter tailgating rules in September, which required students to register tailgates with the Athletics Department and wear wristbands denoting whether they were of legal drinking age, and banned glass bottles and charcoal grills.

Comments

  • Sara

    Amazing so much effort is put forth after one freak accident – but that the constant, predictable stream of serious injuries and deaths around central campus resulting from improperly designed streets, speeding vehicles & red light runners receives virtually no serious attention or funding from the University.

  • lakia

    How about just the number of robberies and assaults? Face it, there are few safe places for Yalies to roam. THAT should be the topic of much debate.

  • ugctenor

    “Amazing so much effort is put forth after one freak accident – but that the constant, predictable stream of serious injuries and deaths around central campus resulting from improperly designed streets, speeding vehicles & red light runners receives virtually no serious attention or funding from the University.”

    Really?! How many serious injuries or deaths around central campus were the direct result of a Yale student who was so busy looking for something on the floor that he couldn’t look in front of him while he was driving a large motor vehicle? The effort being directed at this is clearly warranted.

    However. Student groups should negotiate with the scholl administration over these rule cheanges. The changes won’t go away, not anymore.

    The easiest change to go after. Tailgate cut-off time at kickoff. I think this accident occurred prior to kickoff. Shouldn’t be too hard to get that moved back to half-time. But expect enforcement of this to be much stricter and violations to carry tougher consequences than in the past.

    Beer kegs? A tough one, but only because beer kegs have always been regarded as the boogeymen of college partys when 30 packs have not. Fight it if you want. After all, no one was injured by an out of control beer keg. It might be easier to just let this go and buy 30 packs, before The Game becomes a dry event.

    Large box trucks? Forget about it. They’re gone. Other vehicles? A tough fight, but I think you should go for it. Just rent cargo vans. But get this consession before summer so the rental agencies have plenty of notice. But you should still expect stricter rules. Don’t be surprised if they all need to be in before 8am and not allowed to leave until all the other lots are empty. After last year it might be harder to get a student or alumni volunteer to be responsible for bringing them in and out. Given tougher rules for these vehicles, and probably for the drivers as well. Consider just paying someone from outside for the day to just drive in before the entry deadline, remain on sight for the day but NOT DRINK. This shouldn’t have to be a campus employee or the like. Just someone from town who wouldn’t mind making some extra cash that weekend. You might need to supply the names to the school beforehand. That means no illegal aliens, people with criminal records, bad driving records and/or dui convictions etc. Just get the vans yourself the night before and load them up. Have them parked, loaded, and ready to go (with the appropriate lot pass) in the morning when the driver shows up. Pay him $100 for the day, but keep that between you and the driver (winkwink) and off you go. If you manage to keep the kegs, arrange for him to return these as well in return for whatever deposit there might be. Seems like alot of trouble, but the school might accept it and it’ll seem easier in the following years.

  • Bouchet

    I an an alum… the student tailgate area was ruined this year anyway with the IDing, the fence, etc. It was way too crowded and dense. Don’t worry, alumni will be providing well stocked tailgates in the much broader area in Lots D and F throughout the entire game. It is unfortunate that fraternities and colleges won’t be able to throw their traditional tailgates, but Yale was ruining them anyway with the new rules. I am guessing the non-Harvard tailgates will still be enjoyable in the student area given fewer people…

  • Sara

    The effort is certainly warranted, UGC. Was just curious when Levin will do something about the dozens of very severe injuries and several deaths around the actual campus itself in recent years, which are attributable to failed infrastructure. In the past, Yale paid to redo the 1-2 blocks of Broadway because of concerns like this (and it worked) but nothing has been done about the other blocks and streets in the area. Harvard has reconfigured streets all over its campus because of the students who have been run down and killed there. It’s a much nicer place than it was.

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