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After 9 EMS calls, admins make more changes to Tailgate

At the rest of the season’s Tailgates, expect to see fewer scantily clad students dancing atop truck beds in the Blue Zone and more recycling bins, administrators and campus leaders said last week.

After deeming the first Tailgate of the year a success, representatives from Duke Student Government, the Office of Student Affairs, Duke Police Department, Campus Services and Emergency Medical Services met Friday to re-evaluate the event and make further changes to the new guidelines implemented for this football season.

The most visible new policy will be a ban on dancing and standing on vehicles, said sophomore Pete Schork, DSG vice president for campus and athletic services.

“Dancing on cars is risky,” he said. “Although most people dancing on cars are responsible and will be fine, someone could fall off, maybe fall on their head.”

Students will still be permitted to sit on the tailgate of cars or in pickup truck beds, but may not stand on top of vehicles or in the beds, Schork said.

Senior Caitlin Sacha, director of Duke EMS, said there was an increase in the number of emergency incidents at the first Tailgate—from four calls last year to nine this year.

“Six of the calls were serious enough that the patients had to be transferred to the emergency department,” Sacha said. “I can’t get too specific as to the exact nature of the calls but obviously at Tailgate, intoxication is always an issue.”

Sacha added that she is unsure if the call volume for Tailgate will remain as high for the rest of the football season.

“I think we’ll have to see what happens with the next Tailgate,” she said. “It’s hard to tell if the increase in call volume was because it was the first Tailgate of the year, or whether it was a pattern that will continue. This year seemed to be more serious than last year, which was concerning for us.”

Student leaders and administrators also decided to enact a number of logistical changes during their meeting.

Schork said that at the next Tailgate, there will be more recycling bins to help execute the new policy requiring students to drink out of Solo cups.

“We didn’t feel like the recycling bins were accessible” he said. “They also filled up quickly, so we’re going to have a larger recycling bin. That way groups will be able to follow the no-can policy better.”

A waiting period will also be put into effect to avoid the chaos of vehicles and partygoers entering the Blue Zone at the same time. For the next football game, vehicles will be allowed in from 2:45 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. and students may enter after 3:15 p.m.

In addition, OnlyBurger and Chick-fil-A will now be available at Tailgate for purchase on food points.

“We would prefer if students would grill for themselves and others,” Schork said. “Because most people grill in groups, we’re having the option of food for sale available for students who don’t know anyone who’s grilling.”

Sue Wasiolek, dean of students and assistant vice president for student affairs, said she hopes the new changes will provide Duke students with a safer Tailgate environment. She added that meetings between student leaders and administrators will occur for the rest of the football season after each Tailgate this year.


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