The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Committee weighing options

While rumors and finger pointing continue to swirl over the fizzling of tailgating on the Boulevard at the end of last football season, students and administration have joined forces to solve such issues as the lack of control of underage drinking.

With Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission breathing down the necks of both students, namely fraternity members, and administrators, the situation escalated to the point that both sides agreed that SMU desperately needed a plan. Shawn Heilbron, Athletic Director of Sales and Marketing, quickly took action. He formed a committee to look into this issue, asking Student Body President Chip Hiemenz to head up the committee. , Hiemenz appropriately called the committee “The Boulevard Task Force.”

“I asked him to appoint people to the committee to represent the student body… We wanted students that participate, that come to the games and the Boulevard so they can serve as ambassadors,” Heilbron said.

Hiemenz, who also serves on this committee, said, “Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission has never come out [to tailgates on the Boulevard] until last year… If they really raided it they could have shut down the Boulevard because of all the underage drinking.”

Heilbron, reflecting concerns of the administration, further explained, “There came a need to put into place a new system… to streamline the underage drinking on the Boulevard.”

SMU senior and committee member Farrar Johnson was serving as president of Kappa Kappa Gamma when the concern about the Boulevard tailgating came to light.

“I had to figure out how to get students to the game,” she said, noting that the underage-drinking crackdown on the Boulevard upset students. “Students were caught off guard.”

Johnson understands her peers’ concerns. “The solution was that the university was forced to recognize and fix the problem… and to do so quickly. I think the quick timing perhaps led to some communication breakdown between the administration and students.”

Hiemenz agreed, “People were upset because of change going on, and lots of the people who were upset were under 21, they were upset with the regulations.”

Johnson, who enjoys attending the tailgates and says she makes a point to show her Mustang spirit at the football games, understands the consequences SMU faces if a student drinking on the Boulevard ends up getting hurt. SMU could be held responsible.

The search for solutions continues.

“The consequences of TABC coming were that SMU faculty and staff checked SMU ID’s against a birthday list of all the people who are of legal age to drink,” Johnson said.

Hiemenz questioned, “Is this something we are wanting to do again?” He added a crucial point that many students have apparently overlooked. “It is tough to make an argument against the law.”

Heilbron’s committee is “looking at alternatives that don’t involve alcohol…for people underage and for people who don’t want to drink,” Hiemenz said.

Now the SMU athletic department must provide the fraternities with bartenders upon their request. “Bartenders who are consistent is what we need for next year,” Hiemenz proposed.

Contributing an important outlook on future Boulevard plans, Heilbron emphasized, “This fall is very important because we are moving out of the Western Athletic Conference and into Conference USA. We will be with teams like Houston and Tulane which is much more of a regional focus, not [like] San Jose State…it is very important for students to support the Boulevard.”

“In the next couple of weeks the ‘Boulevard Task Force’ committee will work towards a solution…to make the Boulevard fun and exciting for everyone on campus,” Hiemenz said.

But Johnson concluded with the ultimate goal of both the student government and the athletic marketing department “The main issue is getting students to the game.”

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