Football fans suffered a second loss over the weekend, as the University prohibited the long-standing tradition of drinking from kegs at tailgates in the Blue Zone before football games.
Sue Wasiolek, dean of students and assistant vice president for student affairs, discovered the kegs during a visit to the tailgate parties. The visit was prompted by a letter to President Nan Keohane written by an East Carolina University football fan complaining that intoxicated Duke tailgaters yelled profanities and vandalized ECU fans' property after last week's game. Duke's alcohol policy prohibits kegs without University bartenders, and Wasiolek told students to remove the kegs before police arrived at the premises to avoid citations.
"Our reaction was to go to the parking lots and just see what we found-if we saw blatant alcohol violations, stop them, and if not, just tell them to be better behaved," Wasiolek said. "We would not be there except for the letter, but once we were made aware of a violation of the policy, we can't walk away from it. Frankly, I wish we had never received the complaint."
No students received citations from Duke police officers who biked to the tailgate.
Faced with the option of moving the kegs or being cited, students either quickly finished the kegs or took them to other locations. Wasiolek said the University has not decided if they will continue to check on tailgates.
Many tailgaters expressed anger and frustration at the prohibition of kegs at the pre-game festivities.
"My initial reaction was, 'Here goes Duke taking away what is the last fun thing on-campus,'" former Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity president Will Brown said. "I would have appreciated a little warning. We are perfectly aware there is a policy and we are willing to abide. The only reason we had kegs is that we have always had them and it has never been an issue."
Taylor Collison, the social chair of Alpha Tao Omega fraternity, said he interpreted the action as part of a larger University goal of "cracking down on fraternities." Collison said the group had had three kegs behind cars at the back of the Blue Zone, but when police came they moved them into cars, from which they ran tubes out of the windows to dispense beer.
"I see this as part of a general trend of the University trying to have less things on campus," Collison said.
"People are either going to go off campus or become more concealed on campus."
Many students agreed that groups would find ways to include alcohol at tailgates, either with kegs or by trading kegs for cases-a scenario Brown said might increase the intoxication of students.
"I think [the no-keg policy at tailgates] will just aid in people becoming more intoxicated," he said. "A hundred people trying to get beer from one keg can't drink too fast, but if there are cases or hard alcohol, people will get drunk faster."
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Wasiolek told tailgaters to bring alcohol only for themselves and not distribute to students who are underage.
After the breakup of a long-standing tradition, however, some students said they would like more clarity from the University.
"I would like to ask the deans to have a more formal conversation about what their expectations for tailgates are," Brown said. "That way we could come to an agreement about what was and was not appropriate behavior for tailgates."