Yalies may be inverting their traditional game day slogan to “Princeton sucks, Harvard doesn’t matter” following a tepid reception in New Haven of The Game’s new tailgate rules.
At the 123rd playing of The Game, set for Saturday, Nov. 18, students will not be able to take alcohol into the tailgate area, though beverages will be available for purchase for those with proof of legal age.
The more strictly regulated tailgating seems to have scared the Elis away.
The deadline for reserving one of the eight spaces allocated for Yale groups at The Game’s student tailgate came and went last Sunday, but not a single application was submitted. An additional 12 spots have been set aside for Yale’s residential colleges, though one has already said it will not be attending the tailgate.
“The Harvard-Yale game is not necessarily where it’s at anymore,” said Yale College Council Secretary Zach P. Marks. Marks said the deadline for tailgate applications has been extended for one week and that they “have to be optimistic” that some groups will apply in the additional time.
In the meantime, Yalies are planning events for this weekend’s game against Princeton.
“A lot of colleges are really making a big deal out of [the Princeton game], which hasn’t happened in the past,” said Lissa X. Yu, the student activities chair of Pierson College. “It’s home, and it’s easier for us to go while juggling midterms and papers.”
A chicken-wing eating event has been planned for this weekend, though there are usually no special events for football games other than Harvard-Yale, according to Marks.
One Yale alum, Alison Bloom-Feshbach ’06, said that most of her friends would be attending this weekend’s Princeton game instead of The Game next weekend, and that many of Yale’s societies are having tailgates then instead of at Harvard.
Marks said that the Yale College Masters’ decision to no longer subsidize transportation to Cambridge has reduced campus enthusiasm for The Game, already dampened by news of Harvard’s new stricter alcohol policies.
A bus service being organized by Elis offers a $60 round-trip ticket directly to Cambridge. Last year, sold-out Undergraduate Council shuttles to Yale were $30 round-trip, which over 1500 students purchased.
Francisco H. Liquado, who is organizing the Yale shuttles, said that between 300 and 350 students have already purchased tickets to Harvard, and he expects to sell a total of 1000 tickets in the weeks to come. Liquado is a resident of Stillman College, which decided against using their tailgate space, but he said he expects individuals from Stillman to come to Cambridge anyway.
“All my friends are going to be there,” Liquado said.
But at Harvard, concern over Yalies’ enthusiasm—or lack thereof—remains minimal.
“Honestly I feel like we’re going to have a blast and if they don’t come there will just be more room for us to spread out,” said Tessa C. Petrich ’07, a member of the tailgate advisory committee and the organizer of the joint tailgate of the Isis and Fox clubs.
“Have we ever once not been attracted to a party because Yale students aren’t going to be there?” said Campus Life Fellow John T. Drake ’06.
Dean of the College Benedict H. Gross ’71 also seemed unruffled.
“I’m sure that we will see plenty of students from Yale at the tailgate and at The Game,” he wrote in an e-mail last night.
Although Drake said he worries that Elis are scared away by alcohol policies they don’t fully understand, he hopes that more groups will apply for tailgate space during the extended deadline.
“We haven’t given up the hope that Yale can have fun,” said Drake.
In a meeting of House Committee (HoCo) chairs last night, Drake encouraged House leaders to contact their sister colleges at Yale to encourage them to come.
Quincy House Co-chair Melissa M. Trahan ’07 said she identified with Yale’s reluctance to come in the face of tighter alcohol restrictions.
“I mean I definitely have strong personal reservations for these rules,” she said. “If it weren’t for my love for the school and Quincy I would just go to the game and not the tailgate,” she said.
Trahan added that she hoped that this year’s tamer tailgate might encourage the Boston Police Department to loosen their restrictions in the future.
—Staff writer Liz C. Goodwin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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