By Hanaa’ Tameez and Will Welch
Thursday, Sept. 12: The Undergraduate Student Government posted an official statement from Assistant to Chief of Police Eric Olsen on their website regarding homecoming tailgate rules.
Monday, Sept. 9: An announcement made at an officer orientation meeting for Greek life has sparked rumors throughout the Stony Brook University community that there will be no tailgating allowed at homecoming.
Greek life members were told at the new officer orientation meeting on Sunday that university police has banned tailgating for the homecoming football game, according to senior biology major and Sigma Delta Tau president Lisa Duddy.
But the announcement that was made by Associate Dean and Director of Student Life Susan DiMonda was “lost in translation,” according to Assistant Chief of Patrol Eric Olsen. DiMonda declined to comment.
“Tailgating is permitted at homecoming,” Olsen said. The announcement was to clarify what is prohibited when tailgating, not to ban it.
“There’s no drinking of alcohol in public. If you drink you’re subject to summons and confiscation of the alcohol,” Olsen said. “Any crowds that impede the lanes where cars drive would have to be dispersed. There’s no amplified sound unless you have a permit from Student Activities,” he said, referring to the DJ’s that have set up near the Infirmary in years past. Underage drinking is also prohibited, along with cars taking up more than one spot.
Olsen said the confusion of what is allowed at homecoming came from the use of the word “tailgating.”
“I think the term tailgating is what everyone got hung up on,” Olsen said. “If you’re referring to unauthorized sound by the DJs and the open-air drinking by the Infirmary as tailgating, that certainly won’t be allowed.”
But that’s not what those at the meeting on Sunday heard, Duddy said.
“There will be absolutely no tailgating this year and it’s the decision of the University Police Department,” Duddy said. “Basically they told the leaders on campus they can’t do something that’s been tradition for years and everyone’s been freaking out about it.”
Duddy said the ruling caught her and other Greek leaders off guard. “We’re just kind of blindsided because homecoming, I know for Greek life, is a chance for alumni to come back, not even to tailgate, but to see their old friends or people we haven’t seen in years,” she said.
The message George Chachati, president of Sigma Alpha Mu and past president of the Inter-Fraternity and Sorority Council, got from the announcement was, “There is no way you can appeal this.“
Alexandria Chardavoine, a junior majoring in business in nursing, who had heard of the rumored ban said, “It would probably be safer if no tailgating is allowed. It’s dangerous.”
Josh Barry, a senior economics major, also heard of the supposed ban. “Being an athlete, I’ve been going for the past three years, and taking away things like this takes the liveliness out of the campus and makes it harder to attract more students,” he said.
Barry added that he thinks the UPD should not simply ban an event. “They just need to be prepared for it,” he said.
Olsen said that there will be an increase in staffing by the university police at homecoming to make sure those tailgating have a fun and safe time.
“Last year homecoming had the largest crowd they ever had,” Olsen said. “We’re going to increase our staffing accordingly to make sure everyone is safe and has a good time.”
Olsen said those coming to tailgate should be aware that the parking lot will not be open until noon the day of the game.
“We’re not trying to jump out of the bushes and surprise the students,” Olsen said. “We want them to know what is and isn’t allowed.”
Tailgating is officially allowed, as long as the laws are followed.