NC State has detailed codes of conducts and handbooks for almost every topic possible from academic integrity to club sports. These act as concrete sets of rules, policies and procedures that dispel any possible confusion for students to prevent misconduct or breaking any rules. Football games are no exception, as the Carter-Finley Stadium Fan Guide exists and serves as a general guideline for various aspects of football spectation including topics like ticketing and emergency plans.
Additionally, there is a section for tailgating but the 18 item list does not go into much detail. Specifically, the list does not describe much of the rules, regulations and procedures associated with drinking. As such, there is an incredibly large need for the University Police and NC State Athletics to create a handbook detailing all of the unknown specifics regarding tailgating at Carter-Finley and on the Fairground lots.
The only current rule regarding alcohol consumption in the fan guide is that “beer and unfortified wine are the only alcoholic beverages that may be consumed in all NC State controlled parking lots.” Since underage drinking is illegal in North Carolina, it is understandable that University Police and/or NC State Athletics would not want to include any specifics about it as to not encourage the illegal behavior in any way. However, there is still an incredible amount of information that can and should be provided to students in such a handbook including rules and regulations, procedures, debunked myths and life-saving emergency information.
To begin, the rules of NC State tailgating can be better defined in partnership with Raleigh PD to provide spectators with a resource to educate themselves as well as provide law enforcement with a document that explicitly states what is allowed and what is prohibited. During this section, the handbook can easily discuss NC State’s rules regarding alcohol consumption while still holding the position that they do not condone underage drinking while also covering topics such as the beer and fortified wine rule, the no glass bottles rule and the rules associated with public intoxication.
Next, a newly developed handbook should have the entire set of procedures in place in case a student is issued an underage drinking citation, or other citation, and has been reported to The Office of Student Conduct. This section could pull very heavily from the ready-made resources by the Office of Student Conduct while also including action items that are relevant to Carter-Finley and tailgating specifically; for example, how to appeal the one-year ban from Carter-Finley and tailgating lots with the Wake County Sheriff’s Office and both what and where is the magistrate (two commonly unknown concepts).
Furthermore, this handbook can be a great opportunity for University Police to dispel myths associated with tailgating— some of these myths that were debunked in the previous article in this series. This would be beneficial for both students and law enforcement. Students would be more educated on the authority of law enforcement and possibly reduce underage drinking while tailgating. Likewise, law enforcement would then have their jurisdiction in concrete writing to support their educational approach to enforcement and justify their proactive enforcement approach.
Finally, there is always room for more education across campus detailing emergency plans to help save students’ lives in the event of any emergency, including alcohol related emergencies. This includes detailing the Howl for Help procedure as well as how and where to go in the Carter-Finley parking lots and Fairground lots to find medical aid or assistance. In my previous interview with Major David Kelly of the NC State University Police, he also emphasized the importance of safety while tailgating.
“We want every patron, every fan, every spectator to have an enjoyable experience while they’re at one of the Wolfpack football games whether it’s at the stadium or out in the parking lots tailgating,” Kelley said. “We do want people to contact us especially if there is some type of a medical emergency so that we can get that individual the medical assistance and care that they need, but we just want people to drink responsibly and follow the laws for alcohol consumption.”
Not everyone has the opportunity to speak with Major Kelly like I did, so it’s important for something like this to exist for students, families and organizations that engage in tailgating. Even though not every person will read this handbook, having the resource available is beneficial to everyone and allows University Police and law enforcement working with University Police to reference a physical document detailing the rules and following procedures (if a citation or referral to Student Conduct is given). The creation of this document has the ability to change the way policies on tailgates are spoken about throughout the NC State community and can greatly improve our tailgating culture.
Next week’s column in the “Underage” series will discuss the newly established Stationtownhomes located directly next to PNC and the Fairground parking lots. The article will gather perspectives from campus police, student residents, and the Station management in order to fully analyze the recent situation created by new off-campus student housing development.