Columbia's administrators and students are at odds over effects of the new alcohol enforcement policies at Baker Field.
With no clear explanation from Columbia on the details of the polices, administrators hope to create a fan-friendly atmosphere, while disillusioned student groups planning on tailgating at this weekend's home opener are left wondering exactly what they will be allowed to do, and if anyone will show up.
"It's just another stupid move on Columbia's part. It's like, were there too many people going to games already?" said Michael Perry, CC '07.
According to Lisa Hogarty, executive vice president of Administrative and Student Services, however, the tightening of Baker Field's alcohol policy will not negatively impact school spirit.
"I actually think about it differently," she said. "With better management and clear understanding of what kind of entertainment venue we're building at Baker... enthusiasm comes when teams win."
Fraternities, the most likely groups on campus to host tailgating parties, are less optimistic about the impact of the policy on their social activities.
"I'd love to see Columbia football get some support, but the bottom line is if we're not going to have booze there, brothers aren't going to show up," said Gabe Rose, CC '07 and president of Pi Kappa Alpha.
"We were planning on having a barbecue at Baker Blast, but now we're going to do it at our house," Rose said. "Columbia sports teams just aren't good enough to warrant [going] without drinking." The exact effects of the new enforcement policy are still unclear, and many of the groups that were planning events for this weekend's Baker Blast still have no idea if they will be allowed to proceed.
CC '06 class President and Spectator columnist Kwame Spearman said that no one in the administration has contacted him about where he can host the senior class barbecue he has planned for this Saturday.
"We're completely in the dark," Spearman said. "We already ordered the food, and we're just going to find a space."
Hogarty admitted that the administration had not been clear with students.
"We have not communicated this well at all, and so we have a lot of catching up to do," she said.
The regulations are an extension of University alcohol policy, which requires student groups serving alcohol- like a fraternity that wants to throw a tailgating party-to go through University Event Management and be approved by their advisor. The policy was formerly not applied to Baker Field.
"We have a University alcohol policy, we have a University event management procedure and these need to be in place for all venues, just like if a frat were going to do a party in Lerner," Hogarty said.
But it is unclear if events with alcohol will be permitted, even with prior permission. In an email, Kevin Shollenberger, associate dean of Student Affairs, said groups are currently not able to reserve space, and even if space did become available in the future, they would not be allowed to serve alcohol.
Few student leaders had been officially informed about the new level of enforcement at Baker, nor do they understand how it will affect events planned for this weekend or the future.
Two weeks ago, a handful of student leaders met with Barry Neuberger, associate athletic director of Sports Marketing, who vaguely mentioned the new alcohol policy, said Michelle Oh, CC '06 and CCSC president.
"It was a meeting about different ideas to raise spirit and draw students to games," Oh said. "We had gotten brief mention of the possibility of a policy change, but when that change would actually be implemented, we had no idea. None of us knew it would happen so soon."
CCSC and ESC Executive Boards met last night to discuss what to do after the changes became widely known yesterday. Tom Fazzio, SEAS '06 and ESC president, said that they were trying to collect student feedback and talk to administrators. "We're trying to get a really good understanding of what's going on here," he said.
GS Student Council President Stephen Davis, GS '06, said his council is working independently and is looking into finding a bar near Baker Field that would be willing to host a pre-game party, and other options for places for GS students to tailgate before games.
Though student leaders haven't yet voiced plans to try to revise the policy, Hogarty said that the administration would be willing to reexamine the policy at the end of the year.
"If there's some nuances that students or alums or the University community want to reexamine at the end of the year, we would certainly be open to that," she said, but she would only be willing to enter such a discussion after the fall semester ended.
Additional reporting by Theodore Orsher and John Davisson.