After the Yale Police Department and fraternities discussed off-campus party registration last week in a meeting deemed successful by both sides, they turned their attention to tailgate regulations Wednesday night.
Three fraternity leaders met with several officials from the YPD and Yale Athletics Department to discuss ways to keep student attendance at tailgates high in light of new tailgating restrictions announced last January following the fatal U-Haul crash at last fall’s Harvard-Yale tailgate. Students and administrators primarily discussed concerns about transportation of students and of tailgating supplies to the newly conceived “tailgating village” — which will be located near the student entrance of the Yale Bowl, not on the intramural fields.
The students present at the meeting said they felt more positive about the season’s first tailgate on Sept. 29 because of the clarified expectations and administrators’ commitment to maintain Yale’s tailgaiting tradition.
“They’re working hard to try to accommodate us, and make it something that students will be interested in doing,” said Mike Wolner ’14, a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.
Former SAE President Ben Singleton ’13 said student leaders have been skeptical of participating in tailgates in the 2012 football season because of uncertainty surrounding the new regulations, which bans U-Hauls and kegs, limits student tailgating to a specific area and requires tailgating activity to conclude at kickoff.
At the meeting, YPD officials said each registered tailgating group will be allotted a certain area, in which students can set up tailgating supplies, according to Singleton. He said he brought up concerns about maintaining the traditional tailgating atmosphere, adding that SAE typically brings its own couches, grills, food and beverages to the games.
To transport tailgating supplies to the designated area, the YPD proposed a setup time from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m., during which vehicles are allowed to drop off supplies before students arrive, Wolner said. He added that YPD officials also suggested fraternities hire caterers to supply food and drinks for the area and said administrators were considering hiring caterers as well creating a food tent open to all students.
“They don’t want you to roll up with a van full of beer,” Wolner said, “but you can bring stuff in [to the tailgating area.]”
In addition to how supplies arrive at the tailgate, Singleton said administrators addressed issues concerning student transportation. Previously, more than 10 students were often driven to the tailgates in the back of U-Hauls, he added. Administrators told attendees that they were in the process of drawing up new, more convenient bus routes to encourage students to take the buses and prevent attendance from dropping, he said.
Daniel Tay ’14, president of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, said he is expecting the tailgating atmosphere to change, but he hopes students can work with administrators to maintain a fun tailgating tradition.
“It’s definitely going to be different — I’m not going to pretend to say that I think it’ll certainly be better,” he said. “It’s going to be a matter of how these issues get figured out in a couple weeks leading up to the tailgate, and the incentives they provide to get students out there.”
Singleton, Tay and Wolner all said they were more optimistic about tailgating prospects after the meeting, and plan to encourage students to attend the first home football game against Colgate on Sept. 29.
YPD Chief Ronnell Higgins said he decided to call the Wednesday meeting because of the success of last week’s meeting about off-campus party registration.
“The meeting that we had last week with the Greek leadership was tremendously productive,” Higgins said, “so much so that we were able to identify other areas of mutual interest, including Yale’s new tailgating rules.”
The YPD plans to meet with Greek leaders again for feedback after the first tailgate, according to Singleton.