New tailgate policy bumps students off campus

New tailgating policies have some members of fraternities and sororities looking to make alternative plans, Greek leaders said.

Troy Pickering, Phi Delta Theta social chair, said his fraternity has no formal plans for this weekend’s home opener, but said he suspects many members of legal drinking age will take part in pregame festivities at local bars or attend other informal gatherings.

Pickering said he understands the university’s policy but fears it will affect game attendance. He said he wishes there were a way to keep all students on campus.

Justin Bass, Delta Tau Delta president, said by banning alcohol at the tailgate, TCU administrators have inadvertently compromised student safety. Those who choose to drink off campus may then choose to drive to the game, he said.

“With organizations taking their tailgating off campus there is a much bigger risk involved,” Bass said. “How can the administration not see this risk?”

Kirbie Johnson, Kappa Alpha Theta social chair, said she has mixed feelings about the new tailgate policy.

“I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed that alcohol is no longer allowed at the tailgates, especially since I am of legal age to drink,” Johnson said. “But on a social and risk management standpoint, this is great for the Greek community. It should help to eliminate the all-too-common drinking fiascos we have to deal with.”

She said while Theta has no formal plans this Saturday, that could change for future games.

Joshua Jemente, Kappa Sigma president, said even though he would prefer that his fraternity members not go to other bars or house parties, his group will probably go elsewhere in light of the new policy.

“I would rather have people drinking in a safe environment, and before, TCU promoted a safe environment that was also school spirited,” Jemente said. “Those who choose to drink even a little, and then drive, jeopardize the whole student body.”

Delta Gamma, Alpha Chi Omega, Pi Kappa Phi and Phi Gamma Delta declined to comment on plans for the game. Chi Omega, Zeta Tau Alpha, Delta Delta Delta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Lambda Chi Alpha, Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Sigma Phi Epsilon did not reply to an e-mail requesting comment.

Don Mills, vice chancellor for student affairs, said the administration is supporting only the student tailgate at the Commons, but if organizations choose to go elsewhere, that is their decision. Students cannot purchase tailgate spots in the alumni parking lot, but invitations by alumni – past members, for example – are OK, he said.

Thomas Pressly, Student Government Association president, said the tailgating situation is unfortunate because in the past some underage took advantage of the situation and ruined it for others.

“You don’t need alcohol to enjoy yourself,” he said.

Pressly said he is expecting a good turnout at Saturday’s tailgate, especially with fraternity rush still going on.