Tailgating must change: Dalton

By Daron Walker

Vice President for Student Affairs Jon Dalton Tuesday said NIU’s tailgate structure must change as a result of occurences before Saturday’s Huskie football game.

Dalton met with representatives from administration, the athletic department, University Police and the Student Association in Lowden Hall to discuss the implications of the tailgate uprising.

“We did meet this morning and we concluded that our present tailgate arrangement shouldn’t be continued. We concluded that we do need to make some changes,” Dalton said.

Dalton said the group heard viewpoints of what occurred from different departments and proposed some changes for future tailgates.

James Harder, interim vice president of business and operations, said the group did not take any action at Tuesday’s meeting.

“We discussed the incident and we tried to identify what actually happened,” Harder said. “We identified what happened from several different perspectives and we considered actions to be taken to keep this (Saturday’s incident) from happening again,” he said.

Dalton said he could not say what the proposed changes in the tailgate structure would be at the moment.

e said the group will meet again Tuesday morning to “make some changes” in the structure of pre-home game celebrations.

Dalton said the problem was not with tailgating but with the way the event is set up and run. Dalton said alcohol abuse and the dangers of thrown objects made the tailgate Saturday a dangerous situation.

Dalton said proper safeguards for the occasion, such as the fence around the field and tailgate information, had been provided for in advance, but the situation that arose was hard to control.

“Our primary concern is for safety,” he said.

“We did not want to punish or limit the freedoms of the students because of the actions of a few,” Dalton said.

Student Association President Jim Fischer said there was a definite concern for safety at the tailgate but “there was not an overwhelming urge to get rid of tailgating.”

Michelle Emmett, director of University Programming and Activities, said she “would like to see an area where families and children could tailgate near the students.”

The tailgate issue began after several students and one University Police officer were injured by thrown objects at Saturday’s tailgate.