Kernel Editorial: Campus alcohol policy can’t be ignored

After a police officer was hit and at least one fan was beaten during the UK-WKU tailgate two weeks ago, UK had to do something.

This campus and the areas around it don’t need another State Street after the Louisville Final Four game. (After the game on March 31, fans on that street lit couches and a car on fire and threw beer bottles at officers.)

Tailgating is for hanging out with friends and other fans — which often includes drinking. It shouldn’t be a place for fights and endangering lives.

But is banning alcohol in a concentrated area the answer?

If tailgaters simply take their festivities elsewhere, the safety issue isn’t resolved beyond that one area. If UK wants to be the parent to students on and around campus, it’ll have to send authorities beyond the boundaries of Cooper Drive between University and Sports Center drives. The administration has every right to enforce the ban on campus property, but it can’t control students when they party in nearby neighborhoods.

If students — even if only a small number — are going to partake in dangerous activity during tailgating, maybe a larger law-enforcement presence is needed. Maybe arrests need to be made for those who get belligerent. But alcohol issues need to be enforced fairly.

Banning alcohol may be a proper stance to take this week, but it won’t hold up over time. If other tailgaters in Commonwealth Stadium’s lots and surrounding area still are allowed to drink, then UK is sending a message that it thinks its students don’t know how to control themselves.

Drinking on campus property is supposed to be prohibited on this dry campus, yet tailgaters in other spots are allowed to carry on. That discrepancy must be addressed if a selective drinking ban is being considered beyond this weekend.