Soapbox: Is the current state of a tailgating on campus a problem?
The university has established additional tailgating regulations in response to an increase of alcohol-related incidents this semester, university officials said.
Since Oct. 1, the office of the senior vice president of administration issued a document containing new and existing rules that all students, alumni and visitors must abide by on campus on game day, said Capt. David Carlisle of the Department of Public Safety.
“What is driving this issue is this semester. We’ve had a record number of alcohol-related incidents and transports to hospitals,” Carlisle said. “We want people to be responsible.”
One of the primary new regulations this semester, Carlisle said, is the prohibition of drinking games, including activities, such as beer pong and “beer jeopardy.”
“The drinking games just lead to drinking too much and if you’ve got all day to drink, it could be a problem,” said Todd Dickey, senior vice president of administration, who said evening games create increased opportunities for people to consume more alcohol, which leads to problems.
Another main provision that will change tailgating on campus is a ban on loud music after receiving complaints from tailgaters and visitors, Dickey said.
“We’ve seen some very large DJ booths turn out with very loud, amplified sounds,” Dickey said. “We think having music at your tailgate is fine, and having TVs at your tailgate is perfectly fine, but having music that you can hear from a block away is not OK.”
DPS will be responsible for enforcing tailgating rules on campus; however, public safety officers plan to maintain a low profile this year since many people are unaware of the new rules, Carlisle said.
“It’s going to take a few games for people to understand what the rules are,” Carlisle said.
DPS officers began to inform tailgaters of the new rules during the Oct. 2 University of Washington game by walking around campus handing out yellow fliers to tailgaters who were not obeying rules, Carlisle said.
“We let them know that this is now going to be against USC campus rules,” Carlisle said. “Generally they were understanding and cooperative, but there were a few who weren’t happy … the change is for the benefit of everyone.”
Dickey said he believes there won’t be any problems this weekend because of the early game time of 12:30 p.m. for Saturday’s game.
“We want [campus] to be a family-oriented tailgating experience,” Dickey said. “It’s not going to be heavy-handed implementation. It’s going to be reminding people that we want tailgating to be a good experience for everyone.”
If tailgaters do not follow the rules once informed by DPS officers, students might be cited and referred to Student Judicial Affairs and visitors to campus might be asked to leave campus, which is allowed because the university is private property, Carlisle said.
“We’re all Trojans,” Carlisle said. “In order to maintain an atmosphere that everyone can enjoy, there have got to be some rules imposed.”
And yet, Carlisle said he is pleased to see so few incidents for the large number of people on campus on game days.
“For the number of people we have on campus — students, visitors — overall, people are generally really well-behaved, but there’s always that small group who overindulge,” Carlisle said. “When you drink alcohol, you do foolish things, and when you do foolish things, you get yourself hurt.”
Prohibiting beer games and amplified music are the newest regulations the university will focus on enforcing, Carlisle said, other rules against prohibited activities — failing to discard trash properly in receptacles, disruptive behavior, using open flame without having a fire extinguisher nearby, driving tent poles or stakes into the ground — must still be followed.
“These kinds of rules have always been in place,” Dickey said. “It’s just nice to have a policy that we can point to … people are usually really good if you just go up to them and remind them; they’re always cooperative.”