Students push for more tailgating spaces at forum

The Student Tailgate Forum held at WCU on Oct. 5 concluded with the Tailgating Task Force’s hearing and consideration of students’ requests for more spaces at E.J. Whitmire Stadium.

To make more room, the students in attendance at the meeting suggested that spots be given based on the number of fans in the group, rather than the standard reservation size of a six-lot space being given to every group.

Currently the task force has been receiving complaints through surveys made available at WCU home football games that the lots are too big and that there are not enough of them available for more groups.

A.J. Grube, chair of the Chancellor-appointed task force and head of the Business Administration and Law and Sport Management Department, began the meeting by asking the nine students in attendance what they liked and disliked about WCU’s current tailgating policies.

“The control is very good,” said one student. “It’s safe and fun. . . . Everyone is of one accord.”

What the students did not like, however, were the lack of tailgating spaces for more groups and the lack of time allotted for tailgating before, during, and after the football games.

Gibbs Knotts, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and faculty representative for WCU Athletics, said that the problem with extending the time frame for tailgating is that it raises costs across the board. Security must be called in earlier, as well as other services or vendors, too.

Grube added that extending the time allotted for tailgating might increase the risk of binge drinking.

“How drunk do we want people, really?” she rhetorically asked the students.

One student said that this was true, but “the risk for binge drinking during restricted time is just as prevalent, if not more so. Those coming to tailgate often feel inclined to drink more quickly.”

Another issue that was brought up was the problem with blinking lights of campus police. One student said that, having epilepsy, “the blinking lights can cause seizures while I’m driving”.

All concerns and complaints were recorded by Jane Adams Dunford, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs. According to Grube, this feedback from the students would be compiled with student surveys collected from Tailgate Lot 33 during football games by the task force in mid-November. Then, it would be sent as an official report to Chancellor David Belcher.

“If students want to see the policies change,” Grube said, “then coming to the forum and/or filling out the surveys that we give out at Tailgate Lot 33 during football games is the way to do it.”

After the meeting, Grube and Adams-Dunford said that “surveys will soon be available in the UC itself via a pick-up box” as well.

If students have further questions regarding tailgating they may email Grube at