Public Safety homecoming, event tailgates discussed

Meaghan McCann

Students and alumni will flock to Main Campus this Saturday for Homecoming Weekend’s main event, the football game against Morgan State and, of course, a good tailgate. 

Parents Weekend and Homecoming are two of the University football team’s most well attended home games of the season for an obvious reason- an influx guests on campus. 

Often, students and guests buy tickets to these games not only to cheer on their Wildcats, but to have a little fun beforehand. 

The art of the great American tailgate is hardly lost on University students. On these two dates, from 12:30 p.m. to kickoff, Pike Lot is the place to be.  

A number of interviews with students revealed common questions and qualms about tailgating on the University’s campus.

Questions common among students include: “Why does Public Safety kick us out so early?” “I’m 21, why can’t I bring a drink into the tailgate?” There is also the inevitable, “watching the ‘College Football’ Snapcwhat My Story makes me want to transfer.” 

A senior, who wished to remain anonymous, said “We have a great football team, but I don’t think they get the support they deserve. If tailgating was more accepted I think students would go to a lot more games.” A few other interviewees echoed this statement. 

The idea that tailgating feels restrictive to some students compelled The Villanovan to sit down with our Director of Public Safety, David Tedjeske. He’s been with University Public Safety for seven years, and reports that tailgating in the East Main Lot, otherwise known as Pike, didn’t happen at all when he arrived. 

“Sometimes the pendulum swings,” Tedjeske said, referring to a time when he believes tailgate policies became too relaxed and students took advantage. “I saw a video from ’93 or ’94 [of an on-campus tailgate at Villanova] and people were everywhere. It was a completely out of control situation.” 

Tedjeske described the videographer to be in the stadium bleachers atop the visitor side, recording “throngs of people and out-of-control drunks” partying where the Health Center now stands. “[The videographer] panned over the stadium afterwards. No one was at the game.” 

The concern that the pre-party will become the main event, as it was in the past, compelled Public Safety to restrict tailgating completely during the late nineties and early 2000’s. 

The Department believes it has found the “sweet spot” in terms of tailgate policy, but Tedjeske warns that a “signature event” such as a fight or a DUI following tailgate festivities “could swing [the pendulum] back completely.” 

In terms of current and official tailgate policy, the director relayed what most students are already familiar with. 

Tailgating is permitted in Pike Lot three hours before kickoff, and there are no kegs, charcoal grills, bottles or drinking games allowed. Parking in the tailgating section costs $20 dollars, and Public Safety will make rounds to ensure prohibited items are not in use. 

Policies are decided by University Senior Administration with “significant” input from Public Safety and the Athletics Department.  Tedjeske also reported a strict 21+ policy. 

“We’re not going to do anything that passively permits underage drinking, especially given the University has an alcohol problem,” he said. Public Safety “varies” on carding tailgaters. Sometimes they will card every person entering Pike Lot, but more often than not they make rounds and randomly check IDs. Students found drinking under 21 “go through the Dean of Students” and “risk being cited if Radnor Police is on the premises,” Tedjeske said. 

In the coming years, the planned construction of dorms could change the game as the University “ignites change” in the main lot. 

Tedjeske inferred that the surface of the law school parking garage may need to become the new home of large tailgating events .

During Parents Weekend of this year, an incident occured in the Law School parking garage. 

“There were two employees from a contracted company, Staff One, who were charging patrons $10 for parking on a day that we were not charging for parking,” Tedjeske said. “They were arrested by Radnor Police. In addition, we have stopped using that company for our general parking lot money collection and have hired a new vendor.”

Aside from this isolated incident, there are not usually problems with parking for campus-wide events open to the public.

“For the most part, [on-campus tailgates] go really well,” Tedjeske said, and reiterated that “it’s not intended to be an all-day party atmosphere.”  

This weekend Nationers will show up to support the team and the community that we love. The football game gives us an opportunity to celebrate the University with enthusiasm. Happy Homecoming and go ‘Cats!