This fall, the pre-games will truly be pre-games.
New regulations handed down by the university require football tailgate parties to end 30 minutes before kick-off, in an effort to increase the traditionally low student attendance at the games.
“A tailgate is a social event intended to create a festive atmosphere among fans prior to attending football game. The purpose of a tailgate is to mobilize fans to support their team,” wrote Dean of Students Mark Bandas in an e-mail to The Hustler. “We want the Vanderbilt community to show its support for our football team, our new coach and our dedicated student athletes.”
According to Bandas, Vanderbilt University Police Department will report non-compliance to the Office of Greek Life. Failure to comply will result in loss of tailgate privileges for the following home game. Repeated failures to comply could lead to a loss of tailgate privileges for the season.
Members of the Greek community vocalized disapproval of the new regulations, which some have characterized as a deliberate effort by the university to limit the Greek community.
Will Marshall, freshman and Lambda Chi Alpha brother, pointed to the football team’s losing record as the reason for low student attendance.
“A team that doesn't win games is not going to attract a fan base, regardless of absurd rules enacted to attempt to do so,” Marshall said. “The administration ought not be surprised when their actions cause students to return to their rooms and conduct more nefarious acts than they would at a tailgate rather than going to the game.”
Head football coach James Franklin took to Twitter to respond to anger directed at him over the new policy.
“I don't know where it started but I am not involved in shutting frats down 4 the games, I want them 2 come because they want 2 be there,” he tweeted.
Earlier this semester, Franklin visited Greek chapters in an effort to increase excitement for Vanderbilt football. Although some have placed blame on Franklin for the new tailgate restrictions, Lambda Chi Alpha and junior Vann Bentley placed blame on the university.
"It seems like the university took a request from Coach Franklin to the students to come to the games earlier and turned that honest request into another opportunity to systematically wipe out any fun at this school,” Bentley said. “Ultimately, it will most likely result in students leaving frat lawns 30 minutes before the games and finding somewhere off campus to get belligerently drunk.”
“The Vanderbilt community is very stubborn. People aren’t going to start going to the games just because they’re not allowed to tailgate. It’s an unfair policy and it’s going to be hard to control,” said sophomore and Alpha Chi Omega sister Francene Corradetti. “They can’t prevent college kids from drinking, from going into their dorms or off campus.”