Incidents raise tailgating concerns
September 18, 2006 —
The University is looking into potential changes to tailgating in response to several incidents during the Sept. 9 football game against Gannon.
President Eric R. Gilbertson held a meeting with student leaders Thursday to discuss the issues, including cutting down on dangerous levels of alcohol consumption.
Student Association President Andy Suszek said some of the ideas discussed dealt with providing activities during tailgating and making food and water available to curb the effects of alcohol.
"I'm very enthusiastic that enough people are out at the games and excited," Suszek said, "but at the same time, I agree with the administration that we need to make sure our students are safe."
According to Gilbertson, the changes were discussed in response to several minors being picked up during the game with dangerously high blood alcohol contents, including one student who registered a blood alcohol level of .30 percent. Several other students reportedly had blood alcohol contents of .20 or higher, drawing concerns over the safety of students while tailgating.
"We can't stop people from doing stupid things," Gilbertson said, "but we can try to create an environment where student leadership looks after other students and tries to create an environment where things are more responsible."
Gilbertson also expressed concern over a number of complaints from families who had to walk through crowds of intoxicated students before the game. While some complaints have been made directly to Gilbertson, several more have appeared on forums on the Web site MLive.com, including one from an individual who said, "We really enjoyed our trip to Saginaw for the first time minus the drunk Saginaw students."
Gilbertson said the first step is trying to come up with alternatives rather than implementing tougher policies. Gilbertson was hesitant to discuss specific measures that could be taken, saying he'd prefer to wait and see if things change. He did add, however, that more police enforcement is a possibility.
He also addressed beliefs that student behavior at SVSU is no different than other colleges and that no changes should be made.
"I think that's one of the lamest things I've heard," he said. "We really ought to try to be better than a lot of places. That doesn't mean not having fun or not being competitive about our athletic programs. It just means being a little more responsible and having some class in how we do it.”