Tailgating discussion will ensue

By Dave Duschene and Daron Walker

Vice President for Student Affairs Jon Dalton today will meet with representatives from the Student Association, the University Police and other NIU administrators to discuss events that occurred before Saturday’s football game.

Dalton said, “I in no way want to condone what happened. I want to keep it in perspective. It wasn’t a riot.”

Dalton said NIU is trying to identify any organizations and individuals responsible for the fight.

SA President Jim Fischer said, “I think there is a definite problem when students start throwing (objects) at each other. It seems to me they (the administration) might be unwilling to support tailgate parties if these types of actions continue.”

Fischer said he does not know what the future of tailgating will be or if its elimination would be the correct move by the university.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen. They tried to cut down tailgating when the games start,” Fischer said. “It seems to me the university has the power to completely eliminate tailgating activities.”

Larry Bolles, director of the university judicial office, said the future of tailgating is in question. “It doesn’t look good for holding it anymore. What happened this weekend was a fiasco,” he said.

Bolles said Saturday’s tailgate was almost impossible to police, and one of the university’s options is to close tailgating down.

“I don’t see where the support for it (tailgating) is going to come from. We have another five home games on the schedule. I assure you the university will have a hold on it before the next home game,” Bolles said.

Michelle Emmett, associate director of University Programming and Activities, said tailgating is unsafe. “I think the tailgating situation is totally out of hand regarding people’s safety and fun,” Emmett said.

Emmett said the athletic department will have to re-evaluate its position on whether game attendance is being increased through the use of the tailgate area.

“We need to re-examine the goals of the student picnic area and see that those are being met. If athletics believes they are increasing attendance through the student picnic area, they have to re-examine that goal, since I counted about 50 cars there at halftime,” Emmett said.

Bolles said the combination of alcohol and a willingness to be disorderly probably led to the incident. Bolles expressed concern for students injured by flying objects at Saturday’s tailgate and disgust for students who participated.

“It’s unfortunate that college students find that sort of thing (throwing objects) to be funny,” Bolles said.

Mike Wanner, of Rochelle, said his roommate, Dennis Peters, was visiting friends at the tailgate when he was struck in the right eye with a corncob. Wanner said Peters is suffering “partial blindness in his right eye and possible damage to his retina or iris.

“He was hiding under a car and when he was getting up to leave he got hit by a corncob. It (Peters’ eye) looks pretty bad,” Wanner said.

University Health Service Director Rosemary Lane said six to eight persons were treated at the health center Saturday night. She could not say how many of those persons were injured at the tailgate incident.

Donna Lalley, a clinical specialist at Kishwaukee Community Hospital, said the number of persons admitted to the hospital because of the fight was unavailable without the actual names of the victims.