By Matt Olson
This weekend is Homecoming Weekend; the typical college banter and sounds of autumn will fill the halls and walkways of Union as alumni, families and friends spend a weekend together.
Perhaps the most recognizable tradition of the weekend is the Saturday morning tailgating in the parking lots prior to the football game. Some alumni wait all year for it. The tradition goes beyond the food and drinks that are served during it. It is an event that re-connects best friends and college acquaintances.
This year, however, tailgating may not be occurring on college grounds.
A source that attended Union’s Sept. 21 game against Ithaca College reported that tailgaters were banished from the game after the first quarter.“At the end of the first quarter, a team of five or so Union College security officers swarmed the parking lot beginning by the Ice Rink … and told us we had to stop tailgating at the end of the quarter,” the source explained.
The policy for tailgating, according to Director of Campus Safety Christopher Hayen, is “The reasonable and responsible consumption of alcoholic beverages during public athletic events on campus must be consistent with all laws of the State of New York and the aims and purposes of Union College as an educational institution. When members of the college community (other than students), and visitors choose to serve alcoholic beverages during open air picnics (Tailgating), the College expects that participants in such activities will be reasonable, responsible and in compliance with the law. No open containers of alcoholic beverages will be allowed on the field or in the stadium. Consumption of alcoholic beverages is limited to parking lots.”
Alumnus Bryan Cudmore’99 wrote a letter to Vice President of College Relations Frank Messa. In the letter, he said, “Without prior notice, we were told that we are no longer allowed to tailgate in or around campus. Additionally, we were approached by campus security as if we were underage kids trying to hold a party in the woods somewhere.”
He went on to say, “With alumni coming in from all parts of the country I am positive that you will have a good portion that are very disappointed with this new policy and it may even discourage them from coming to support the school or team.” Campus Safety did not respond on the incident violation. The policy, according to Messa, will remain in effect for Homecoming Weekend.