Tailgating policy needs clarification
This second in a series of editorials commenting on the proposed alcohol policy changes at Notre Dame.
The University's proposed revisions to clarify the tailgating policy that upset many students last fall are fair policies, but require a two-way commitment: the administration must enforce them reasonably and students must obey them. By creating a policy that mirrors Indiana state law, the University preserves the right of students of legal drinking age to consume alcohol in a responsible manner. While the enforcement of a ban on underage drinking is unpopular, students must understand that these regulations are necessary because the public nature of tailgating makes it inherently different than partying in private.
However, as the University completes the final version of the new alcohol policy, it still must clarify several important issues that were not specified in the explanation Father Mark Poorman provided in a campus-wide e-mail Monday.
If students accept responsibility for their behavior in public, the University should respond by acknowledging this maturity and continue to allow underage students to attend tailgates sponsored by family and friends of a legal drinking age. Banning underage students from even being present at tailgates would destroy another of Notre Dame's traditions. However, students should be aware that their presence at these tailgates is not a free pass for those underage to blatantly disregard University policy and Indiana law.
The University also needs to clarify the specific regulations surrounding designated parking lots for student tailgates. Issues involving the details of the registration process required to participate in the tailgates and potential division of student versus alumni tailgates remain unresolved.
The University has now shown students respect by clarifying the policy and leaving the responsibilities and privileges associated with Indiana law intact, but student frustrations could continue unless parking and registration permits are made convenient and plentiful. As the tailgating policy is formalized and written, the administration should involve students in the entire process before students leave campus for the summer.
All Viewpoint Stories for Wednesday, March 20, 2002