Before the first football game of the year, the University of Connecticut Athletic Department released their new rules for tailgates. Among other things, the new rules banned hard liquor and standing on trucks. In a Daily Campus article published last week, students were visibly befuddled by the new rules. The general talk around campus has been similar. Students are confused about the origin of these rule changes. What prompted the Athletic Department to crack down? Was there an incident that served as a catalyst for the new, more stringent rules?
The Athletic Department head was relatively opaque about his reasoning, stating that they “want everyone to be safe and secure as they root for the Huskies.”
This is an admirable goal. But it is possible that the crackdown will just result in fewer people attending games and fewer people having fun. After all, it is an open secret that UConn students do not go to the tailgates for the thrilling football action or the school spirit. They go to party.
UConn used to be known as a party school. Spring weekend was a regional attraction that, although clearly out of control, was part of the school’s DNA. Since spring weekend has been dialed back (for very understandable reasons), UConn’s fun school reputation has slowly degraded.
Of course, the UConn administration has to do what they feel is best to keep students safe. No one will dispute that. But UConn must also consider that many students come to certain universities to have fun. The new tailgating rules don’t seem like they’re protecting anyone from anything. There have already been reports leaking out of students sneaking in hard alcohol (duh), and disobeying other new regulations.
The intention is well-received. But UConn needs to maintain at least part of its reputation as a fun school. It can’t do that if its students are being restricted for harmless behavior.