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Columbia Spectator Staff

As part of a new initiative by the Columbia athletic department, fans will be prohibited from bringing alcohol into Baker Field starting this weekend.

The new policy, as outlined by the Office of Athletic Communications, states that coolers and beverages in glass bottles "may not be carried into" Baker Field, which includes Wien Stadium, Andy Coakley Field, the Chrystie Field House, and the Columbia soccer and softball fields.

Instead, the department has created Lions Tail-gate, a pregame concession area on Andy Coakley Field, where beer and other concessions will be available for purchase.

With this move, SDA and the athletic department risk alienating an already fragile student fan base, potentially counteracting other efforts in the renewed focus on athletics that began when Lee Bollinger took office.

"If alcohol is part of the event, it will be coordinated with [SDA]. It will be coordinated as it would be here on campus," said new associate athletic director for sports marketing Barry Neuberger when interviewed for a story on this Saturday's Baker Blast.

Assistant vice president of student services Kevin Fiske confirmed that "the way alcohol is handled up at Baker" is changing, but said the specific policy is still undefined. It is unclear whether groups hosting tailgate parties will be allowed to bring in their own alcohol, or what procedures they will be required to go through.

The athletic department policy says that alcoholic beverages are allowed in the complex but may not be carried in the pedestrian entrance.

Associate dean of student affairs Kevin Shollenberger will meet with Fiske, other administrators from University Events Management, and Columbia athletic department representatives this afternoon to fully formulate the new policy.

Shollenberger was unavailable for comment yesterday.

Fiske said that Shollenberger and SDA will be required to approve all events involving alcohol. Some student leaders are concerned that this level of bureaucratic paperwork might discourage students from organizing tailgating parties at Baker.

"I think tailgating as we know it will definitely undergo a change," said Michelle Oh, CC '06 and CCSC president. "The immediate effects of this policy will certainly be felt."

Sigma Chi social chair Sebastien Manigat, CC '07, said the new policy would most likely be a problem for big events like Homecoming or this weekend's upcoming Baker Blast.

"It would just cause problems for everyone. Not just students, but alumni who come out and may not know about this new policy," Manigat said.

Manigat was surprised to learn of the new policy when asked last night, and it is unclear what the exact procedure will be for students who wish to tailgate this weekend at Baker Blast, the first home game of the season.

Neuberger said students will be allowed in the northeast part of the practice field before the 12:30 PM kickoff time if they get prior permission from their class advisors.
"We understand that tailgating is a big part of college football," he said. "What we've done is make a space for students to drink as long as they follow proper procedures."

Fiske said Events Management staff would help "supervise any student events that have alcohol up there [at Baker Field]." He said supervision might involve providing proctors, who are trained in "alcohol procedures," according to the registration form for events in Lerner Hall involving alcohol.

Before this weekend, there were no strictly followed restrictions on alcohol at Baker Field, and it is still unclear how the new policy will be enforced.

"Students will inevitably not go through SDA before going to a tailgating party because it's just too much bureaucracy," CC '06 class president and Spectator columnist Kwame Spearman said. "If they actually enforce it, it will hurt attendance tremendously, especially with it so low to begin with."

Students in the Columbia University Marching Band and on the football team declined to comment.

Theodore Orsher and Eric Lukas contributed to this article.