Saturday morning’s tailgate was the first to be taken over by UConn Police rather than the Connecticut State Troopers, like in previous years. This meant a much stronger police presence, especially regarding the consumption of alcohol at tailgates. Students who are legally allowed to drink felt this even when they were not breaking any laws.
The State Troopers were still present at the tailgate, but played a more interactive role with students while UConn Police overlooked the event.
“At the tailgate on Saturday I noticed more of a police presence than I’ve ever seen before. I noticed the state troopers questioning students, when in the past I’ve only ever seen them intervene if someone was potentially going to get hurt.” Leila Gallupe, a junior who attended the tailgate this past weekend, said.
UConn police imposed on student activity in the tailgate more prominently than previous years, surrounding the tents put up by students and eventually walking into the crowd of students to ask them to shut down the music fairly early, compared to previous tailgates.
“The police started having everyone shut off their music starting at 10:30 a.m., but most people’s rides to go home weren’t leaving until 11:30 a.m. In the time in between people started getting rowdier because there was nothing for them to do while they were waiting to go home since the tailgate was shut down,” Gallupe said.
Students claim to have seen police at the tailgate writing up students who were 21 and drinking around other students for supplying alcohol to minors. Students inevitably felt intimidated because they were constantly afraid to get into trouble with the police, even when they were not violating any laws.
I feel that the stronger police presence at tailgates is unnecessary because students have not caused danger to others or themselves. There was a very noticeable increase in law enforcement’s interaction with students from beginning to end of tailgate.
“[I] only felt a police presence this year, not before,” Tessa Pawlik, a senior who attended the tailgate this Saturday, mentioned.
Police cars were parked around all the tents set up by students and along the path entering the lawn where the tailgate took place. In the beginning of the tailgate, around 8:30 a.m., there was a group of law enforcement officers already talking to students next to the parked cars in that path. The very first thing students saw when entering the tailgate was police talking to students, giving students the initial impression of the stronger police presence.