Last season, the football team wasn't the only thing making headlines at Baker Field.
The Athletic Department's controversial alcohol policy was equally, if not more, noticed by students. And on June 23, the University announced a reworked 2006 policy which will provide tailgaters with free beer.
The new policy allows students who are 21 years old and over and who show two forms of photo identification to obtain up to four free beers. The alcohol will be served at a concession stand just outside Chrystie Field House. Although the tailgating area will be open throughout the game, the concession stand will serve fans from one hour prior to kickoff to one hour after kickoff.
No alcoholic beverages will be allowed inside Wien Stadium at any time.
The new policy received a mixed reaction from student government leaders who worked with the Athletic Department over the past year to compromise on a policy.
"I am pleased that the administration listened to what students had to say with regards to changing the policy," said David Chait, CC '07 and class of 2007 president.
"However, I am not happy with the policy as it stands now because it is not overarching for safety. In effect, it is a policy of haves and have-nots, and if you are a rich alumni who donates money to the football team, you can drink at Baker," Chait said.
Patrons who have parking spots at Baker Field-available only to those who have donated at least $2,000 to Columbia's football program-can bring their own alcohol into the parking lot, subject to New York State law and Baker Field's Fans Code of Conduct.
When the Baker alcohol policy was first changed shortly before last season's opening home game, it prompted frustration among students who felt that there had been no communication from the administration about the sudden modification.
At last year's Baker Blast, T-shirts were distributed by the Columbia College Student Council that read "Support the Team, Not the Policy" in order to encourage patrons to boycott the concession stands.
The initial steps in retooling the policy started last October, when the Athletic Department and event management staff met with student council representatives to discuss possible changes to the policy. Minor changes in the policy allowed students over 21 to bring alcohol to Baker Field for the last three home games of 2005.
Rosemary Keane, assistant vice president of strategic communications and planning, called the revised policy-which has been under discussion for months-"a successful compromise."
"University officials made a concerted effort to hear and use suggestions made on behalf of the student body after last year's communication errors," Keane said. "We have a point of view on the situation and we feel that we have created a satisfactory policy."
Despite the compromises already made, students should expect to hear more from their representatives regarding the policy.
"The administration took a large step forward by meeting with students and discussing the new changes openly," Chait said. "As representatives of the student body, we will continue to reach out and express our opinion on the matter throughout the year."
The new alcohol and pre-game initiative policy will go into effect on Sept. 16 for Baker Blast against Fordham.