First, they came for our kegs
Last week, The Arizona Republic published a story detailing the Student Safety Task Force and its consideration of banning kegs at tailgates during home football games, increasing police presence and keeping fans from re-entering the stadium.
We followed up with our own story on the issue, detailing different aspects of the keg ban and the other suggestions by the task force.
This group is in charge of "examining and enhancing student safety on campus, as well as in the nearby communities where students reside," according to the Arizona Board of Regents. The group is staffed by many different people, including local interests like Tempe Police, ASU President Michael Crow, Tempe Undergraduate Student Government President Jordan Davis and Graduate and Professional Students' Association President Megan Fisk.
The ban on kegs, specifically, is a complete and utter rejection of a culture that we came to expect while coming to college. Tailgating is a huge part of the culture of college and college athletics.
It's a feature of not only our culture as Americans but as college students. Taking away kegs isn't going to solve the problems brought on by drinking; it's only going to divorce us from the culture we've come to expect.
Most of us were raised in the presence of a sporting event and its promise of sunshine, cheering crowds and all the trappings of an event — including alcoholic beverages.
These proposed new rules regulating kegs and drinking reminded us of an Arizona Republic editorial last year, calling all ASU students "badly behaved brats." This proposal only gives more agency to this claim. “These naughty children should be treated like naughty children,” the editorial read. We're having flashbacks to this rhetoric, which we thought we had moved past. Why are we still being treated as though we're children unworthy of privileges given to other colleges around the nation? Crow, a member of the Student Safety Task Force, does not believe that we have the image of a party school rife with drunken problems. In a meeting last semester with our editorial board, Crow responded to the Republic's editorial. "... Yes, we have problems, yes, we have issues, but they are issues that are not unmanageable or out of control in our view," he said.
These changes would be a way to make the University look safer to donors and to parents who want to send their kids here. But even if there are problems with drinking at sporting events, is banning kegs really the way to keep problems like overdrinking, underage drinking and DUIs from happening?
Students and alumni will still drink before the game and come to campus, causing an untold amount of problems.
On the other end of the spectrum, newly elected Tempe USG President Cassidy Possehl included creating a wet campus on game day as part of her platform.
"There are numerous examples around the country of how (a wet game day) will allow far more tailgating, greater alumni participation and most importantly energize spirit, pride and tradition at ASU," it said.
While we don't think the idea of a wet game day is realistic at all, we agree that there is a strong connection between the tradition of school sports and tailgating. We hope Possehl will take up what she promised and speak for our needs in the Student Safety Task Force and ABOR as a whole.
Last year, when USG branded the athletic fee as a student investment in athletics and a bargaining chip at the state level, we hoped that we would actually get something for our money. It's up to Possehl to speak for the tradition of collegiate athletics.
Taking away kegs won't solve the problems surrounding collegiate drinking and banning kegs only serves to take away something that we hold dear in college — tradition, pride and spirit for our home team.
Want to join the conversation? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep letters under 300 words and be sure to include your university affiliation. Anonymity will not be granted.