For the approximately 8,200 students in greek life at IU, tailgating has been drastically different this year.
The traditional lot of fraternity tents on 17th Street has been moved back toward 13th Street, now enclosed in fencing and equipped with police officers at the gates and excise officers inside.
Students wishing to enter the greek tent area must present an ID, even if the student is under 21, and put on a wristband corresponding to the student’s age.
As one could imagine, greek students have stopped moving to the fields and instead staying at their housed pairs, avoiding such strict regulation.
This new system is devastating to the unity of greek life.
In a community consistently pegged for its rigid tier system and senseless internal animosity, there are few opportunities for all of greek life to come together and break down those barriers.
The greek tailgating tents present one of those rare opportunities, if not the only one.
Friends from different chapters can meet up with each other. It is especially important for men because they typically host their own exclusive parties, whereas women can move from chapter to chapter.
With the inclusion of the old tailgating tents, the fields truly feel like a cohesive community.
I most certainly acknowledge the argument for increased safety at the tents as past years have been somewhat of a free-for-all. The previous system made it difficult for sororities and fraternities to keep track of all of their members.
For that reason, I think some type of check-in system would be useful in ensuring safety, possibly at a field entrance.
However, the fence and number of excise officers create the feeling among students that they are caged animals being watched. The tailgating fields now feel tense and sparse instead of relaxed and spirited, which is how a tailgate should feel.
In the grand scheme of the University, I understand that relaxing regulations so that greek life has a better ability to ‘eat, drink and be merry’ seems as though it should be at the bottom of the priority list.
But as one of those 8,200 students, a significant portion of this student body, this new system is stifling a genuinely positive environment for students.
Student unity, especially among greek students, is a beneficial thing for student morale, school spirit and university reputation. I therefore emphatically urge the University to reconsider its current greek tent regulation system.
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