Since last year’s tragic hazing death of University freshman Max Gruver, LSU President F. King Alexander’s Task Force on Greek Life has implemented new regulations regarding Greek tailgating activities on the Parade Ground.
One of the new policies require all fraternity tailgating to be moved back to chapter houses with security guards present and alcohol sold by third-party vendors. The 2018 football season is the first time in almost 15 years fraternity tailgates will not be taking place on the Parade Ground.
Tailgating on the Parade Ground has been a tradition for most fraternities for many years. The Task Force is correct in implementing new policies in order to prevent Greek Life hazing and alcohol-related violence, but prohibiting fraternities from tailgating on the Parade Ground is unnecessary.
Drinking on game days is inevitable, and violence stemming from alcohol consumption is possible regardless of where a tailgate is located. The Parade Ground is public, while chapter houses allow for more discreet activities to occur. When fraternities tailgate on the Parade Ground, more people are around to witness potential fights or alcohol-related hazing.
In past years, the Parade Ground served as a large public space where fraternities could tailgate and be monitored easily because everyone was in the same general area. These new rules create large Greek tailgates all around campus, making it harder for law enforcement to monitor every tailgate and ensure everyone’s safety.
Hazing usually takes place somewhere private, and moving Greek tailgates to chapter houses provides more privacy, therefore increasing the risk of hazing to occur. If fraternity members are tailgating in public at the Parade Ground with hundreds of people around to see, the chance of a hazing incident is far less likely.
It is obvious that alcohol consumption on game days has caused problems in the past, but simply moving the location of Greek tailgates is not going to resolve the issue.
The Task Force should take a look at the past to see why tailgating at chapter houses is not the best idea. Prior to the 2005 football season, fraternity tailgates took place at chapter houses. This changed in August 2005, when LSU implemented its current alcohol policy, PS-78, moving Greek tailgates to the Parade Ground.
Fraternity tailgates were moved because fraternities could not afford to host tailgates at their chapter houses because the policy’s regulations were often too expensive to follow. And now, after nearly 15 years, tailgating is being moved back to chapter houses, and the same financial issues will likely arise.
The Task Force’s new tailgating policy increases costs for fraternities, as they are now required to pay for security and third-party vendors. LSUPD should be capable of taking the responsibility to secure safety on campus during game days. Fraternities should not be financially responsible for ensuring campus safety.
The drinking culture at the University is an ongoing problem, and the Task Force has taken monumental steps in making Greek life safer. But, moving Greek tailgates to chapter houses will not decrease the amount of drinking during game day. It will only upset Greek students and alumni who have traditionally tailgated there.
Max Nedanovich is a 21-year-old mass communication junior from Mandeville, Louisiana.