By Kyle Penn
The confusion over whether or not students of or over the legal age can consume alcohol in the Kaiser parking lot for tailgating purposes is over. According to Chief Administration Officer Richard Bachoo, the permitted use of alcohol in the lot is only allowed on certain days by discretion of Bachoo.
“Kaiser lot is one of areas I permit alcohol use on a specific day for football. I’ve had no problems signing off for tailgating,” Bachoo said. “It’s been going on for years and it’s an acceptable tradition to go on as long as people follow the rules.”
In 2006, Bachoo and University President Jack Miller came up with a set of guidelines and rules that a group must follow if they were to request alcohol at their event. It is Bachoo that holds the power to grant or deny the request, simply with his signature. In regards to tailgating he does not hesitate to allow alcohol use in the lot, as long as the people drinking are of legal age.
Students have been unsure if they were technically allowed to drink in the lot while tailgating for home football games. However, despite the uncertainty students have been attending tailgates and consuming alcohol.
“Tailgating is a football tradition that brings fans together to get pumped up and prepared to support our team on the field and in my opinion alcohol should be involved,” said junior Aaron Taranovich, 21, a frequent tailgater at home football games.
There is a collaboration between multiple departments to ensure that tailgating is done in a safe environment. The athletics department, police department, Student Conduct Office and Bachoo all agree that the tailgating for home football games has been safe and in control. Both the parking lot and inside the stadium are monitored by police officers and an outside security company, Executive Security.
“I haven’t had any reports where any students have violated the code of conduct while at a tailgating party,” said Christopher Dukes, director of the Student Conduct Office. “Crowd safety is important and if something were to go down the police department is equipped, trained and well-prepared to address the situation.”
“Our primary focus has been on maintaining order and enforcing the laws. I’m not aware of any problems that have come out as a result of people tailgating,” Chief of Police Jason Powell said.
Bachoo, who oversees the police department and athletics department believes that the fans at the tailgate are always well behaved and things are handled well.
Different departments agree that designating alcohol use at Kaiser lot for tailgating purposes helps to create a safe environment for fans to enjoy the game.
“Kaiser lot provides us with a safe environment to drink, have fun and support our schools athletics,” said Taranovich.
“One of the goals in allowing it to happen is to make this more than just a football game,” said Thomas Pincince, assistant A.D. for Communication and Media Services. “A lot of people use the opportunity as long they follow the rules and regulations that are in place to do it safely, and make sure they don’t cause any trouble.”
If a student were to violate the student code of conduct it would be, according to Dukes, handled the same way as any other alcohol violation, whether it is in a residence hall or an off-campus party.
“It is my understanding that if it’s a university function and that’s been a designated spot where can people can consume alcohol, they still must be of age to do so. So there would be no violation or conflict with the student code of conduct,” Dukes said.
There does not seem to be a full understanding of the rules of tailgating by students entering the lot for tailgating reasons.
“I think a lot of students have a sense of the basic guidelines, but not a complete knowledge of the rules,” said Taranovich.
Different departments believe it would be better for fans of all ages, especially students, to know exactly what they can and cannot do within the lot on game-day.
“I think anytime expectations are made clear that helps everyone concerned,” said Powell.
Dukes agreed saying, “I’d rather people ask then come up with their own perceptions and be wrong about what really is going on.”
Students and faculty agree that tailgating for a football game creates a safe and positive environment for fans to come together and support their team.
“Tailgating helps to create that atmosphere that is part of that football game. It’s not just a show-up and go to the game, it becomes an event,” said Pincince.
“Football games are on the weekends and that’s the time where students get to put the stress of work aside and enjoy themselves,” Taranovich said. “What better way to do this than tailgating with your friends and supporting our football team?