With renovations to Hancock Stadium coming to a close and increased capacity levels at the stadium, ISU Police are planning to crack down on underage drinking at tailgating.
“If you’re under 21 and caught consuming or possessing alcohol, it is both a state and university violation,” Aaron Woodruff, Illinois State chief of police, said.
Students caught underage drinking at the first home game will be arrested and the violation will be visible on their record, Woodruff explained.
“Plus, students will receive notice of being in violation of the university code of conduct and may lose their driver’s license,” Woodruff said.
The consequences will be more severe than what students are used to, he added.
Non-students who are underage drinking, they will only face the state law and not university penalties, he said.
“These are special circumstances. Tailgating has increased in popularity and because of this we have seen an increase in issues. Many of the issues come from those who are underage and consuming alcohol,” Woodruff said.
Almost the entire ISU Police force will be present at the game, as well as police from the Town of Normal, he added.
“Officers will be randomly carding those who are tailgating. We will be looking for those who look underage and are drinking, or those who are acting out,” Woodruff said.
He explained acting out as those who are publicly urinating or causing fights.
ISU Police are going to see how the first game on Sept. 21 goes to determine if the added security is needed for future home football games, he said.
Woodruff said if the added security at the first few games helps reduce issues, the extra officers may only last through homecoming. However, he is not certain.
“We simply want the laws to be abided by, we do not want to get everyone in trouble,” he added.
Many students do not agree with the added security at tailgating, but wish to remain anonymous.
“I believe this is a good idea. It will make people think twice about getting out of control,” Elizabeth Nolan, senior and speech language pathology major, said.
Nolan said most tailgating takes place on ISU property, so she believes police have a right to check IDs.
“Unlike most police officers, ISU police are more concerned with safety than meeting a criterion of tickets per month. I think the added security is a good thing,” she said.
ISU Police anticipate the renovation of Hancock Stadium and the higher capacity to increase the potential for issues, Woodruff said.
“Alcohol adds to many issues on campus in general, we are just trying to prevent any further trouble,” he added.
ISU Police wants to make students aware of the consequences of consuming alcohol underage, have them abide by the law and have a good time, Woodruff said.
For more information, contact ISU Police at (309) 438-8631.