Reverse Changes to the New Tailgating Policy
Tailgating provides the only venue in which drinking, school spirit, sports, the Middlebury town community, and alumni can come together on campus. Middlebury tailgates are steeply rooted in tradition, and are fondly remembered and anticipated by the entire extended Middlebury community. Eliminating the consumption of alcohol as well as the enjoyment of music serves as yet another detrimental hit to the Middlebury College social culture which we, the Middlebury student body, would like to reverse for the following reasons:
1. Because tailgating happens in the daylight in a wide, open space with access to food and refreshments, it provides a space that encourages safer drinking practices that can easily be monitored by Public Safety officials. Tailgating is among the safest drinking environments for our students, as adult and Pub Safe supervision is readily available, and hard alcohol is not encouraged. More, the risk of sexual assault is significantly lower in a daytime tailgating environment, as students will head to a social football game, rather than walking home in the dark, after consuming alcohol. Many students who are not comfortable consuming alcohol at night sincerely value the opportunity to socialize at tailgates.
2. Tailgating encourages slow and casual consumption of alcohol in a social setting, whereas the elimination of such a venue entirely will push students off-campus, where students will get overly-intoxicated more quickly and less safely behind closed doors before driving to the game. It is both ignorant and dangerous to assume that prohibiting alcohol consumption on tailgate grounds will stop students from drinking alcohol; this policy only encourages binge drinking.
3. Tailgating is part of the Middlebury football tradition, and it is disrespectful to the team and to their legacy to eliminate such an ingrained part of the culture. Football game attendance will plummet without of a safe, social, and fun atmosphere of a tailgate to draw people there.
4. There was little to no discussion about these changes in policy with Middlebury College student body. Since the decision directly impacts our campus social life, we feel that we should have had a voice and say before such an abrupt and shocking change to our tailgating policy.
5. Many alumni come back to Middlebury over Parents' Weekend and Homecoming with the expectation that the traditions that they enjoyed during their time as students would still be available to enjoy and reminisce nostalgically. By eliminating tailgating, you disrespect their legacy and could put future alumni donations at risk.
6. No other NESCAC school has gone to such lengths so as to prohibit alcohol entirely. Even Amherst College, whose policy comes the closest in that it does not allow drinking game accessories, kegs, or tents on the field, has no explicit rule against the consumption of alcohol. In fact, many larger universities encourage and even sponsor tailgates to encourage game attendance. Not only does Harvard University, the pinnacle of higher education in the United States and world, provide alcohol at tailgates, but they also hire professional DJs for their community to enjoy.
7. Alcohol and music, in no way, prevents a NESCAC host institution from providing a “hospitable environment” for sporting games. It does not take away from an “emphasis on fair play,” but instead creates a united community of support and enjoyment for the sporting culture at Middlebury. You know what’s really unfair and inhospitable? Empty stands, a drop in alumni attendance, and campus-wide unrest.
Let’s do something about this, Middlebury. Sign the petition.
Dear Fellow Students,
Like many of you, I am deeply concerned about the manner in which the recent changes to the tailgating policy were both decided and conveyed to the student body. As a crucial element of this community, the student body should, at the very least, be consulted about changes to college policy. The lack of transparency and student involvement in this process has been both disappointing and troubling.
We in the SGA are currently reaching out to administrators to learn more about how, when, and why the college changed this policy. As we do so, however, it is important that you continue to convey your ideas to us. We have taken notice of the unprecedented level of participation in this petition and are doing what we can to learn more about the policy change. In addition to supporting this petition, though, we also want to give you an opportunity to talk to us directly about your ideas and concerns.
I plan to be in the Proctor Lounge from 4:30 to 5:30 this afternoon; I would love to hear what you have to say. In addition, the student Co-Chair of Community Council, Ben Bogin, will be in the Great Hall of Bi-hall from 4pm to 5pm this Sunday. The SGA Senate also meets every week at 7 pm on Sunday in the Crest Room. I have put this at the top of our agenda for this week’s meeting. If you feel strongly about this issue, then I would encourage you to attend and make your voice heard. Depending on student interest, we may move the meeting to a larger venue. I will keep you all posted if that is the case.
I wonder if I disobey this new regulation if they will Taser me!
Jenny Chute commented
Middlebury can learn something from WVU, selling beer in the stadium decreased cases of public drunkenness by 43%.
Gary Giroux commented
As a parent of a football player all we are trying to do is have fun. A glass of wine, a cold beer, some crackers, cheese and a little something off the grill before the game. Then after watching a MID win we are lucky enough to hang out with our kids and eat with them in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Can we still have fun without alcohol? Absolutely, and many do, but why should we have to if there is not a problem. Why try to fix something that isn't broke?
I know the 20+ parents that we hang with work hard each and every day and when we get to Mid for the weekend we look forward to a cold beer or two and relaxing conversation with friends and families. When traveling back to Mass after the last home game last year my wife said to me "Does it get any better than this?". It wasn't because of the beverages that we were having but the entire Mid experience. Our new friends that we have made, an opportunity to have an enjoyable conversation with our son as well as all his friends and their families in a relaxed environment.
The letter that I read appeared that the administration feels the need to pull out the National Guard on game day and I have been there for every home game and not once has there been an issue. Although one time the kids did get a little loud with the music and made a mess, but if that is the biggest issues the college has to deal with they are lucky. With a tuition of $60,000 per year I am sure that they have a few dollars to help clean the tailgate area after a game. I am sure if you put a dumpster up there 95% of the kids will be responsible enough to clean up after themselves. Remember these are current Mid Kids and Mid Alum not hooligans that there having a good time.
Last but not least, his will not stop the kids from drinking. Now Pub Safe will need to patrol both the dorms and the field as well.
Although the decision they made clearly has it merits and sounds good on paper, the reality is it is a bad move by the administration and I hope that they change it.
Grant Dewey commented
Middlebury administrators sadly continue to overreach in their attempt to fix a problem that doesn't even exist. One of the consequences will be to alienate loyal alumni like me. There are far worse consequences I suspect to the community that I had come to love.
If enough 21+ people refuse to honor the policy, Pub Safe will eventually stop enforcing it. Let's put a little civil disobedience theory into practice.
'15 Student commented
@Angry Alum: the email was sent by Katy Smith Abbott (Dean of Students), Lisa Burchard (Director of Public Safety) and Erin Quinn (Director of Athletics), so I'd try contacting them first! But really anyone in the administration would do... send those emails to anyone you can!
Angry Alum commented
Who do the alumni contact about this? Let us know and I guarantee there will be an overwhelming alumni uproar.