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New Tailgating Policies for UAlbany

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The University at Albany recently took action to reform its tailgating policies for football games.

According to the university, the new regulations are oriented to, ”improve the fan experience while also focusing on the safety and well-being of our campus community and guests.”

Problems with tailgating are nothing new.

In May, the Albany Student Press highlighted several concerns pertaining to rocus crowds damaging vehicles during homecoming last October.

The University at Albany Foundation paid two claims “totaling less than $2,500,” according to Jordan Carleo-Evangelist, director of media & community relations for the university, as a result of students sitting on vehicles.

“Being completely surrounded by drunk and high young individuals was a situation that could have been avoided if proper security was put in place,” wrote one person who attended the event in a letter to UAlbany president Havidan Rodriguez.

Last year, Rodriguez assembled a team to review the events in the Dutch Quad parking lot, where much of the tailgating before games takes place.

Several notable adjustments have been made to the policy since then, including the time frame when tailgating is authorized.

Tailgating hours have now been reduced from six hours prior to kickoff to four and must now cease 15 minutes before kickoff. The parking lots must also be cleared 90 minutes after the game.

Significant changes were also made to etiquette and procedures.

Outside amplified music sourced from vehicles is now prohibited, and the university has now reserved the right to limit tailgating to ticket-holders, those who paid for parking, and UAlbany students with student IDs.

Large groups of tailgaters must now reserve space through the Athletic Tickets office in advance, but the university clarifies that it welcomes big crowds and wants them to have, “the best experience possible.”

The university also cited a motive to respect neighbors adjacent to the Dutch Quad and SEFCU Arena parking lots.

Carleo-Evangelist said the change was influenced by “significant input” from the departments of Athletics, Student Affairs, Facilities, the University Police Department, and the Alumni Association, according to Carleo-Evangelist.

Many fans view tailgating as a tradition that brightens the spirits of the home crowd. Some students are undecided whether the shift from 3:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. has negatively affected the event.

According to the university, fans have, “generally been understanding,” about the changes.

Michael DeRenzo, who attended two of the Great Danes’ home football games, was very enthusiastic about student attitude during the games.

“There did seem to be a lot of school spirit represented by students, even before the game in the tailgating,” he said.

Still, many students aren’t convinced.

“The thing is, we don’t truly know if the popularity of homecoming tailgaters is among actual students or simply alumni,” said Gabe Flaten, a UAlbany student.

Students have also indicated a stronger presence of UPD officers and security personnel in tailgating areas.

The university says this is a result of the new policy, which allows them to allocate the “right resources” to the right places.

Focus is now on the UAlbany homecoming game on Oct. 20. The Great Danes’ homecoming typically brings the largest tailgating crowd of the season, and space for tailgating may be limited.

According to the policy, the university will segment the Dutch Quad parking lot to let non-tailgaters “get in and out of the lots in a timely way.”

As the season progresses, the true impact of these changes will become more prevalent, and the university hopes for a positive outcome.

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Phillip Downes is a student at UAlbany, Class of 2022, and the News Editor for the Albany Student Press.

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