An email sent out on Oct. 11 by USD Involved announced changes to student tailgating. Among these changes included: no more vehicles, those throwing cans will be arrested and no glass.
In an email to The Volante, Doug Wagner, director of student programming and activities, said, “The changes to tailgate rules were made because there were increased questions and concerns about the safety of how students were tailgating. After the first two tailgates of the season, we saw issues that presented some definite concerns on our end so we made the decision to scale tailgate back.”
Of course, safety is important, and perhaps some alterations to tailgate could be made, but these changes go too far. They punish everyone for the mistakes of a few and don’t address the underlying cause of the problems.
Safety should be a priority for the university. That being said, there’s a limit.
Events like tailgate naturally have a risk to them, and no amount of regulation will totally remove the dangers. Bad things are going to happen at tailgate as long as there’s a tailgate.
Unless USD is willing to get rid of tailgate (which would be a horrible idea), at some point, no matter the rules, something bad will happen. It’s the nature of the event.
To remove all risks would only strip the event of any meaning. As Wagner said, tailgating is a valuable part of the athletic experience, so getting rid of tailgate literally or in spirit will only damage students’ experiences. Last Saturday’s tailgate was nearly deserted, a joke compared to the D-Days’s tailgate or others.
There’s a certain degree of responsibility that students take on themselves when going to tailgate.
If they do choose to attend, they need to understand and accept certain risks.
With that being said, there are a few changes that could be made to improve the quality of tailgate. Instead of punishing the entirety of the student body for the mistakes of a few, the university should implement some sort of education.
Teach students how to be safe at tailgate. We already have educational programs for Greek life and student-athletes, why not have a program for those who want to have vehicles at tailgate? Perhaps there should be alcohol training for tailgaters, much like alcohol training for those in Greek like or athletics.
This way, tailgate maintains its spirit while improving safety.
Tailgate is a fun and exciting time for students. At the very least, it’s part of the athletic experience on campus. The nature of tailgating has inherent risks.
There’s a way to keep the experience of tailgating and keep students reasonably safe, but the recent changes don’t do so.