By Lindsay Huffman
Football season may have started several weeks ago, but for some Eastern students, the season will kick into gear at the first home game on Oct. 2. Because home games aren’t just about watching the game for some; it is also about tailgating.But students aren’t the only ones prepping for the 2010 season’s first tailgating experience.
The Tailgating Committee, appointed by Eastern President Doug Whitlock at the end of last year, has been working on a draft of the Student Code of Conduct for Tailgating. The code would not change any part of the current tailgating policy, but instead, it would serve as a reminder to students about proper behavior while tailgating and ask certain students to be accountable for their fellow tailgaters.
“It was never our intent to change the policy,” said Skip Daugherty, special events coordinator for the president and the chair of the committee. “If you give students high expectations and hold them accountable . . . they will respond accordingly in a positive manner.”
Each group participating in tailgating should have a risk management person who will be marked with appropriate identification. If disruptive behavior is found within a particular group, it will be the duty of the risk management person to take control of the situation. If the behavior continues, though, the police will be called.
“It’s a really big, positive step asking the students to step up and be accountable,” Daugherty said.
The committee was organized because the behavior at tailgating had become “disruptive” and “excessive,” Daugherty said. The point of the committee is to educate students about how to create a positive tailgating experience, but it is not “a big brother policy.”
Daugherty added that the faculty or staff won’t directly enforce the code, but the code will be monitored by people in golf carts.
“It’s a challenge to students to come up with a positive environment [at tailgating],” he said.
Once the draft is finalized, it will be sent as a recommendation to the president, who has to sign off on the measure.
The committee drafting this code of conduct consists of various faculty, staff and students who represent different parts of the campus. The areas represented on the committee include athletics, alumni, the National Panhellenic Council, the Panhellenic Council, the Interfraternity Council, student government, campus police, the university attorney, chief of staff and the Office of Student Affairs.
Student Government Association President Caleb Armbrust, who is also a member of the Tailgating Committee, said the committee did well in terms of student representation.
“We were represented well,” he said. “The committee was very receptive to student requests.”
Armbrust said students, too, have been receptive to the idea of advocating certain behavioral standards at tailgating.
“I felt like they recognized the need of finding a better way of doing things,” he said. “Everybody recognizes that it’s been crazy.”
Daugherty said he and the rest of the committee hopes to have the draft signed off by the president in time for the first home game.
“Twenty-five percent of the [student] population is new,” he said. “We would make big headway by having the right environment for them.