At college campuses, tailgate parties are just as important an attraction as the football game itself. This is especially true of TCU, a university that prides itself on its athletics. Tailgates rally students, faculty, staff and alumni for food, drink and entertainment in a celebration not only of sports but also of community. However, a new university policy threatens to dampen the spirits at the student tailgate.
The student tailgate, previously at a parking lot in Worth Hills, is now being moved to the Commons, and alcohol has been banned from the party. According to school officials, the ban is being enforced partly because the new tailgate venue is in the middle of residence halls occupied by sophomores, most of whom are not of legal age to drink.
In November 2007, the Skiff reported that TCU student tailgates were the second-most cited place in Tarrant County by the TABC last year. A TCU official said alcohol citations at tailgates had partly influenced the decision to ban alcohol.
It is praiseworthy that the university is taking steps to curb underage drinking, but dry tailgates may not be the answer. Banning alcohol at the student tailgate will only abolish underage drinking at the tailgate itself, not at other places where supervision is not as strict. Students over 21 will take the party elsewhere.
Like it or not, alcohol is significant to the appeal of tailgates. By prohibiting alcohol at the student tailgate, the university is not only taking away a privilege of those of legal age but also risking lower attendance at football games.
Not everyone holding a beer is looking for trouble. Tailgates are important to the campus athletic tradition, and students over 21 should be able to keep their privilege.
News editor Julieta Chiquillo for the editorial board.