New tailgating boundaries set by university
The new Homecoming regulations for drinking alcohol on campus aren't meant to dampen the spirit of celebration, but rather to create more space than what was offered in years past, organizers said.
Angie Ballard, the Alumni Association's director of Homecoming, said the boundary of consumption, which will be defined by a fence around the UA Mall, is more open than last year, when only individual tents were fenced off.
"It's not as confined as you may think," Ballard said.
The boundary changed from last year because the approach was too limited around each of the tents, not because of any specific behavioral issues or problems with intoxicated students, Ballard said.
Underage students will be able to enter the Mall through any of the 15 entry points, but anyone 21 and older wanting to drink will need to wear a wristband, she said.
John Brady, a corporal with the Arizona Department of Liquor, said the department's policy is the same as last year, but the UA decided to approach the event more carefully.
"I think it's great that they're doing their absolute best to make sure they abide by the law," Brady said.
Some students expressed doubt about how successful the new setup would be and said the restrictions could keep students and fans home.
Josh Kim, an undeclared sophomore, said making students drink in one place where there are police nearby is unfair and ineffective.
"(The police) are out there to catch (underage drinkers) for one day and that's messed up," Kim said. "Kids are going to drink, nonetheless."
Sarah Froehle, a 21-year-old interdisciplinary studies junior, said in previous years, an underage student could go anywhere to get a beer.
"Last year I wasn't 21 and they didn't say anything to me," Froehle said.
Victoria Kersbergen, an anthropology junior, said when she tailgated as a freshman she also didn't see heavy regulation or any boundaries on the Mall, and increased enforcement this year wouldn't effectively limit underage drinking, though it could keep students from celebrating on campus.
"Some people won't go tailgating if they're paranoid about MIPs," Kersbergen said.
Besides UA students and faculty, the rules about tailgating also affect UA fans from elsewhere in the Tucson community.
Tom Wolfgang, a Tucsonan and Wildcat fan, said he used to tailgate in the 1980s, but doesn't anymore because of tighter restrictions over the years.
"It puts a dim situation on it," Wolfgang said. "I guess on the Mall you have more camaraderie. But, to more casual fans, there's only so much room over there, and in some ways it's not as fun."
One member of the greek community, which has a large turnout at Homecoming events, encouraged students to accept the rules because the focus is not on them.
Jake Henderson, the president of Pi Kappa Phi, said Homecoming wouldn't be less enjoyable this year despite any changes.
"Homecoming is Homecoming," said Henderson, a communication senior. "It's a fun time for alumni to re-live the college experience. So this week it's not for us, it's for them."