Despite recent tailgating regulations put in place at Michigan
State University to curb binge drinking before football games, the
University of Michigan does not have reason to enforce similar
regulations, said Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Diane
Brown.

Beth Dykstra
Michigan fans tailgate before the football game on Sept. 4. Despite tailgating restrictions at Michigan State University, the University of Michigan has not changed its own tailgating rules. (tony ding/Daily)

Michigan State’s spokesman Terry Denbow explained that the
new restrictions apply exclusively to the 56 designated tailgating
lots on MSU’s campus and are intended to specifically curb
binge drinking by restricting the hours for tailgating and banning
drinking games.

“It became clear to us, by advice and consultation both
with the University’s health and police departments, that
binge drinking in tailgating lots was becoming a problem,”
Denbow said.

The on-campus tailgating lots regulated by the new policy fall
under the jurisdiction of Michigan State’s Department of
Police and Public Safety. Public safety departments at both
Michigan State and the University of Michigan generally have
jurisdiction only over university-owned property, and Brown said
most students do not tailgate on University of Michigan
property.

“We have a little different situation in that our
geography is different. Some schools — and I believe MSU
would fit into this category — have significantly-sized
parking lots in proximity to (the stadium), and that’s what
gets used for tailgating,” Brown said.

Designated tailgating areas on University of Michigan-owned
property include all athletic parking lots and the University Golf
Course. But tailgaters in these areas are mostly older visitors,
alumni and parents, Brown said. Most lots also require expensive
permits.

“It ends up, because the way the geography is laid out,
that the students end up partying at their houses, and then the
older people are the ones doing the tailgating,” Brown said.
“The level of intoxication — while there is some of it
in the golf course area and in some of these parking lots —
is well under control.”

Brown added that many people given citations are not affiliated
with the University. She also said most citations issued are for
minors in possession and urinating in public.

Compared to the week before, Michigan State officials reported a
slight decrease in the amount of alcohol-related citations given at
their Saturday home football game against Illinois — the
first home game since the enactment of new tailgating rules and
restrictions.

Sgt. Florene Taylor of Michigan State’s police said 66
citations were handed out during the game Saturday. Of these
citations, Taylor said most were MIPs. Eighty-five citations were
distributed during Michigan State’s football game against
Notre Dame on Sept. 18, and 43 citations were handed out at the
game against Central Michigan University on Sept. 11.

In comparison, at the Michigan football game against Minnesota
Saturday, DPS distributed 22 citations — 16 for alcohol in
the stadium, five for urinating in public and one for possessing
another’s ID.

DPS also made eight arrests — six for MIPs, one for
disorderly conduct and one for nonaggravated assault.

At Michigan State there were also 15 arrests made at the
Illinois game last weekend, but they were not related to the new
regulations. “No one was arrested as a result of drinking
games,” Taylor said.

Last football season, 432 incidents were reported in seven
games. So far this year, including Saturday’s game, 194
incidents have been reported in three games.

Some Michigan State students said they were dissatisfied with
the new rules. Junior Mike Mieszcak said the new regulations seemed
reasonable when first announced, but he saw an increase in police
presence at a tailgate he attended this Saturday.

“When we got there I saw three people get MIPs at 7 a.m.
— the first girl wasn’t drinking anything, but they
stopped her, asked for her ID, searched her purse, found a beer and
gave her an MIP. Cops were walking around in groups of nine,”
he added.

Michigan State juniors Lauren Vanderworp and Kathleen McDonald
said many students stayed away from the on-campus lots.

“Most people either left early or stayed home and
tailgated. Overall, tailgating wasn’t nearly as crowded as it
had been last time there was a home game,” Vanderworp
said.

“People stayed and tailgated at their houses and played
drinking games,” McDonald said.

Mieszczak also said students “feel helpless” under
the new policies. “We’re represented, but they just
hear what we have to say. They don’t listen to us,” he
said.

But Taylor said DPPS does not want to prevent students from
drinking altogether.

“We’re not trying to get people to stop drinking. We
just want them to drink more responsibly and to abide by the laws.
If you’re 21, you certainly can drink, but you need to do so
responsibly,” Taylor said.

“It’s a health and safety issue first and
foremost,” Denbow added. “The bottom line is
we’re trying to protect the tailgating traditions at Michigan
State and not threaten them.”

 

The crackdown

Michigan State new regulations

No beer bongs, roulette wheels, or tables and boards set up to
play drinking games like beer pong and flip cup.

Tailgating is restricted to designated parking lots five hours
before and two hours after football games.

Restrictions apply to 56 university-owned lots designated for
tailgating.

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