Lose the Booze at Tailgate, Says Dean

Underage undergrads will be sober on Game Day if College has its way

CORRECTION APPENDED

The Harvard-Yale Tailgate—historically a boozefest—this year might look more like a Boston Tea Party.

Students will not be allowed to bring alcohol into the tailgate, according to rules released yesterday by Dean of the College Benedict H. Gross ’71 after negotiations with the Boston Police Department (BPD).

After a tailgate so rowdy in 2004 that BPD Captain William Evans said, “I was embarrassed to be a policeman on that field seeing what I had to see,” top College officials are cracking down on alcohol use—and student leaders are not happy.

Some House Committee (HoCo) members—who met with Gross and other College officials last night to discuss the rules—expressed concern that the regulations will encourage students to get drunk before going to the tailgate, or that students won’t even show up. [See CORRECTION below.]

“People are going to drink hard alcohol before heading over to The Game, if they head over to the game at all,” said Lowell HoCo Chair Jonathan V. Brewer ’07. “It’s less than an ideal situation.”

While kegs have been banned from Ohiri Field since 2002, hard alcohol flowed freely in HoCos’ and student groups’ trailers in 2004. This year, vehicles entering the tailgate the night before and morning of the event will be searched for contraband alcohol.

Beer and spiked hot chocolate will be on sale for $1 in three stations, available for those with proof of legal age.

Gross wrote in an e-mail that the Boston Licensing Board has requested an additional meeting with the city’s police before issuing a permit for the tailgate.

“I think we will get there, but to reach agreement we have had to reconsider our policies on students bringing alcohol into the tailgate area,” Gross wrote.

‘ROCK BOTTOM’

The BPD pledged to crack down on Harvard-Yale tailgates after the 2004 Game, leaving some doubt as to whether there would be a tailgate at all. But yesterday’s announcement that the party will indeed go on left few students in a celebratory mood.

In a post to the Undergraduate Council (UC) e-mail list, Matthew R. Greenfield ’07, who served last semester as the council’s Student Advisory Committee vice-chair, wrote, “We’ve hit rock bottom.”

But UC President John S. Haddock ’07 is hopeful that the strong negative reaction will spur students to get involved in changing the policies.

He said there are plans to form a student advisory board with College officials to hash out “the details of how to make this work.”

New tailgate rules unpopular with students were implemented in New Haven last year. The tailgate was required to end at the beginning of the third quarter and drinking games were prohibited.

But one Yale student sounded unconcerned about Harvard’s policies—which take Yale’s a step forward with the alcohol ban.

“These are clever Ivy League students,” Robert B. Kerth, a junior in the residential college Calhoun, said. “I’m sure they’ll find some way [to sneak in alcohol].”

Harvard alumni will have their tailgate separately, as usual, and the new policies will not affect them, according to Gross.

In 2004, BPD officers ejected 29 students from the tailgate for underage drinking—15 Yalies, 11 from Harvard, and three from unknown schools.

Harvard University Police Department spokesman Steven G. Catalano said that at the time, there were a total of 97 ID confiscations and two arrests.

—Staff writer Liz C. Goodwin can be reached at goodwin@fas.harvard.edu.

CORRECTION

The Feb. 20 news story, "Lose the Booze at Tailgate, Says Dean," incorrectly stated that Dean of the College Benedict H. Gross '71 attended a meeting with House Committee chairs Tuesday night. While Gross sent rules for the Harvard-Yale tailgate to the chairs Tuesday, he was not among the top College officials in attendance at the meeting.