LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) Social media has been buzzing with controversy surrounding the University of Louisiana Lafayette student tailgating policy with a big football game happening this weekend.
News 10 was informed of the following statement:
We encourage all students to join alumni, friends, supporters, and guests for tailgating. Enjoying pre-game activities – and doing so responsibly and in a safe environment – builds a sense of community, inspires camaraderie, and shows support for our student-athletes. After tailgating, we look forward to seeing everyone in Cajun Field to cheer the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns on to victory.
The following email was sent to student organizations earlier this week. Its contents do not reflect new policy; rather, the email served as a reminder of existing regulations – including the University’s Drug and Alcohol Policy revised in 2012 – that govern student tailgating activities.
To all: You previously signed off that you (or a representative of an organization) understood all Policies regarding student tailgating as well as University policies (attached below)
I want to remind all Student tailgate attendees:
NO Drinking games (beer pong/water pong) are allowed
NO Glass containers
No Common Sources of alcohol (Kegs, bottles of liquor, etc…)
Ice chest should be labeled over 21, water, etc.
“I think it’s a level of absurd. Tailgate is meant to have fun,” an anonymous student and former Greek member of Zeta Omega Pi Kappa Alpha said . “Drinking games, I feel like, is an essential part of a tailgate like it just adds to the fun, adds to the environment, and the atmosphere makes it ten times better. I don’t understand why they’re taking it away. Nobody has gotten hurt. Nobody has caused any drama over a drinking game. I think it’s pretty out of pocket.”
“It’s a tradition,” Tierra Carter, a UL Lafayette sophomore, said. “Alcohol is a tradition. We all like to drink. Just let us drink. You know, we’re just trying to support our school because we love our school, and drinking just going to enhance that experience.”
The anonymous student said tailgating is the most significant part of a college experience.
“Everybody lives for a tailgate,” the anonymous student said. “You go to LSU, the tailgates are huge. They say the sport is for the fans this is part of the sport, and they’re taking it away like UL is going to get absolutely no support from the student fans anymore,” he said. “I think they’re about to get a lot more hate than they ever received before. They’re ruining the culture at UL. You know how they’re always like culture with the capitalized U and L well, it’s ruined now.”
One student cited the safety concerns that university and others could have with tailgating, resulting in the enforcement of the policy.
“There’s a traditional side, and there is a safety side, and with that safety side, they’re trying to protect everybody else and like try to not let them do what they want to do rather than protect everybody, so it’s just the cause of trying to protect everybody rather than let something happen, and it falls on them,” Renwick Douglas, a UL Lafayette sophomore student, said.
“I feel like you can go both ways about it, but if you’re going to do it, stay safe rather than try to pick out all of the safety and all this stuff they rather just cut it and nip it in the bud,” he added.
Kyle Duplantis, UL Lafayette academic advisor, mentioned how the policy has been in place for some time.
“The policy existed for years,” Duplantis said. “I think maybe COVID season for football might have messed that up, but I don’t think it’s a restricted policy. I think you can still have fun, especially with alumni, the Greek organization, and you can still bond, and it’s family weekend. Let’s focus on having fun with our families. Supporting Ragin Cajuns; getting this W, and I mean it’s just a policy, and policies can change, and I think if students still have issues with it, then they need just to voice them. That’s their right.”
Duplantis said, in terms of athletics and dealing with COVID-19, there were not many crowds, and with this season, there will be more people actually tailgating, and the policy is in place for liability and people’s safety.
“I think some people might be a little butt hurt, I guess, where they can’t do certain things at the tailgate, but it’s the same policy for even the alumni tailgating and other things,” Duplantis said. “So we’ll still have fun, still have a good time.”
News 10 tried multiple times to reach out to Heidie Lindsey, the associate dean of students/director of Student Engagement and Leadership, and did not receive a response.