September 30, 2020
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In defense of Homecoming regulations

By Sydney Shaw
Opinions Editor

The campus community is in an uproar about the changes to Homecoming, complaining that a “segregated” tailgate defeats the purpose of the event. Students fear it will be more difficult to form connections with past members of fraternities and sororities, clubs, teams and other alumni.

According to the College’s Homecoming website, Lot 4 will be fenced off and serve as the alcohol-permitted area. Those of drinking age will only be allowed one six-pack of beer per person. Tailgating will begin at 10:00 a.m. and will last through the start of the fourth quarter of the football game.

Underage students can still spend their time with alumni and older friends, though. They just can’t do it in Lot 4.

There is no reason why attendees who are 21 or older have to stay cooped up in one place drinking all day long. They can have a few drinks and then leave the confines of Lot 4 to mingle.

One alum complained to me that he won’t get to see his brother, who is a freshman at the College.

“We should be able to hang out and drink beers together,” he said. “It’s Homecoming, for crying out loud. What’s the problem?”

The problem is that his brother is only 18 years old. If the alumus desperately just wants to spend time with him, he could do so — in Lot 6. Or anywhere else on the entire campus. He would put family ahead of standing in a parking lot and drinking all day.

Students are acting like their rights have been violated, but nowhere is drinking underage any kind of a right or a privilege.

The petition on Change.org penned by Mike Griffith, class of ’13, calls the changes to Homecoming “oppressive,” “arbitrary” and “authoritarian.” Many of the comments on the site complain that the implementation of these new rules shows that the College doesn’t trust us.

But if the College doesn’t trust its students not to drink underage or not to drink a dangerous amount of alcohol, it’s because we haven’t given it a reason to.

At last week’s Student Government meeting, Chief of Police John Collins said that at Homecoming 2013, there were students collapsing drunk in the parking lot before noon. There were 24 citations written for underage drinking, 13 more than the previous year. Older students slipped off their silver wristbands that signified they were of drinking-age, passed it over to a younger friend and then re-entered the tailgating area as if they hadn’t already received a wristband. This allowed younger students to drink openly, if not illicitly. Four students were transferred to the hospital during the event and two were transferred later that night. In 2011, only one student was medically transported during Homecoming.

As officers whose duty it is to protect students’ well being, are they supposed to ignore these increasing numbers?

One of the major arguments against the changes is that students who are not yet 21 might over-consume alcohol in their rooms prior to the event since, this year, it’s tougher for them to illegally drink in public.

“This is a high risk, as the rapid intake of alcohol can cause alcohol poisoning and result in hospitalization or death,” senior technology education major Dalton Fowler commented on the petition site.

Fowler is right, but it’s absurd to imagine that the College would allow underage students to drink alcohol at an event so that they don’t binge-drink beforehand. If trust from the College is what you’re looking for, don’t get blasted and make a fool of yourself at a school event.

Another argument is that the changes will alienate alumni, discouraging them from donating money to the College.

Alumni donate because they want to give back to the school that has given so much to them, not because on one day a year, they get to hang out and drink with younger students who are in the same organizations of which they used to be members.

Many are angry about the rule that follows Fraternal Information and Programming Group guidelines limiting the amount of alcohol.

Maybe the College is counting our drinks because last year, students drove in pickup trucks filled with dozens of cases of beer and drank till they were sick. When some people take advantage of the system, it’s understandable for the administration to respond by setting limits. There is no need for such an excess.

To supplement the reduction in alcohol allowed at the tailgate, the College is even hosting a beer garden in the Rathskeller from 3:30 till 6:00 p.m.

There will be a DJ in each of the tailgating lots. Organizations will be performing songs, dances and comedy acts. There will be a rock wall and an inflatable Quarterback Challenge, game booths, prizes, food and face painting. There will be, of course, a football game, where our new Pep Band will be making its debut appearance.

Shouldn’t we be focusing on all of that? Or can we not have fun and demonstrate school spirit without getting plastered?

8 Comments on In defense of Homecoming regulations

  1. While your response was well thought out and does provide some solid rebuttals to the points that students and alumni have made, you’ve failed to address some other pertinent issues that these changes will cause. For one, alumni who bring their children will be stuck in a very unfortunate situation if they want to drink. It’s not like they can drop them off in the “underage lot” while they head over to the “of-age lot” to drink. Before, they were able to set up with other alumni bringing children and tailgate/drink together while their children played and mingled close by. Now they’re are pretty much forced to either not bring their kids, or abstain from drinking all day.

    Another point you failed to address is the limit that is being imposed by the guidelines set forth from the Fraternal Information and Programming Group and how it affects older alumni. Why should a 50+ year old alumnus be forced to constrain himself to a 6 pack, a limit set forth by guidelines that are meant for college aged students? Going off that, why should these older alumni be forced to drink beer or wine only? Many older women enjoy having mixed drinks at their tailgate, and now they’re going to be forced to drink either beer or wine if they want to imbibe.

    While I understand these new guidelines are mostly meant for the current students, both of age and under age, I don’t think the administration took too much thought into how bad these rules are going to affect the older alumni, who are really the focus of Homecoming. They are going to balk at these rules, possibly even enough to deter them from coming at all, if ever again. It’s a shame that the actions of a small percentage of attendees have caused these drastic rules to be set forth, and probably ruin what used to be the event that alumni most look forward to every year.

  2. I understand what you’re saying but these changes truly are excessive. Last year’s rules should have been enough to ensure responsible choices, and if they weren’t, then that is the fault of the enforcement. It’s not a reason to treat both students and alumni like they are too stupid and juvenile to drink and have fun responsibly. There are other plans that could have been put in place that would not have caused such rage in both students and older alumni alike. It seems like a cop out and a way of showing that the interests of past and present student body aren’t taken into consideration when making these changes.

  3. I appreciate you all reading my editorial and reaching out to me.

    No, Stephanie, I don’t hate fun. But I care about the safety of my classmates more than I care about the ability for them to illicitly drink at Homecoming and risk their own health and safety. The laws are in place for a reason and the College is doing everything it can to enforce them. I commend them for that.

    Tom, I understand your point. These new regulations are certainly not perfect and alumni should be able to enjoy themselves by drinking alcohol at the event. Having children there should not prohibit them from doing so. Hopefully the College will look into this issue further and find an even better solution for next year that keeps older alumni happy while simultaneously keeping everybody safe.

    Amanda, you said, “Last year’s rules should have been enough to ensure responsible choices, and if they weren’t, then that is the fault of the enforcement.” I can see where you are coming from, but look at it this way: if police were checking every single water bottle and accusing students of already showing their I.D. and receiving a wristband that signified they were of-age, the campus community would be in an uproar about the excessive force exhibited by the police. Making it almost impossible for underage students to be near open containers of alcohol at Homecoming is the best way to ensure they don’t drink at the event.

  4. This article is simply stupid. Go troll another school and transfer to community where you don’t have to worry about the evils of alcohol. Your parents clearly sheltered you too much as a child.

  5. Although I am one of those students that disagrees with the changes brought on by the College, I have to say that this article is well written and makes valid points. It’s refreshing to hear a different to side to this issue and I commend you for voicing your opinion. Well done.

  6. It seems to me that the paragraph about the rising number of citations and transports is the definitive argument against your entire article. “In 2011, only one student was medically transported during Homecoming.” In 2011…before these changes took place. Tom raises some good points as well.

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