Monday, September 29, 2008

Do's and Don'ts

Lots of discussion on the NDN boards today about our own little version of Troopergate. I'm sure those discussions will continue, especially with the Fall Board of Trustees meeting on campus later this week. But I believe now is a good time to go over some of my do's and don'ts.

Do I believe people who make dumbass statements to police or security officers are asking for trouble? Yes, I do.
Do I believe "what a waste of taxpayer dollars" qualifies someone to be arrested? No, I don't.

Do I have a problem with drunken or otherwise unruly people being escorted out of Notre Dame Stadium? No, I don't.
Do I have a problem with policemen and security officers hanging out in the student section bathrooms to ferret out "offenders"? Yes, I do.

Do I have a problem with officers of the law keeping the peace reasonably in the parking lots? No, I don't.
Do I have a problem with officers of the law skulking about waiting for an underage person to touch a beer? Yes, I do.

Do I think being an usher at Notre Dame Stadium is an easy job? No, I don't.
Do I think they make their own jobs more difficult at times? Yes, I do.

Do I believe it's a bad thing to keep Notre Dame Stadium orderly? No, I don't.
Do I believe it's a bad thing to have quotas for locating "unruly patrons"? Yes, I do.

Do I think people who get in trouble should see consequences for their actions? Yes, I do.
Do believe those consequences should include a ban from campus, especially via a document signed by someone as cosmically specious as Bill Kirk? No, I don't.

Do I believe sometimes ND students and fans need protection from themselves? Yes, I do.
Do I believe that protection has to come via unwarranted home invasions and physical assaults? No, I don't.

Do I believe that everyone who has shared a story with us in the last 24+ hours is lily-white innocent? No, I don't.
Do I believe the vast majority of those people were treated more harshly than their situation deserved, regardless of their fault in it? Yes, I do.

Do I have family members who have known Cappy Gagnon for a long time and have respect for him? Yes, I do.
Does that stop me from thinking his participation in conversations today with alums has been incredibly wrong-headed and inappropriate and made me question his suitability for the post he holds? No, it doesn't.

Do I respect law enforcement officers who hold a sometimes thankless job? Yes, I do.
Does that respect extend to those who act the way the Indiana State Excise Police have been acting lately? No, it doesn't.

Do I hope something positive is going to come out of this? Yes, I do.
Do I hold my breath over it? No, I don't, although I don't live a "No Surprises" life, so....

On my next few trips between Chicago and South Bend, do I plan to set the cruise control at the speed limit to avoid any unnecessary confrontations? Yes, I do.
Do I believe that as a result of all this, the first time I show up in my basketball season seats (Sec 101, Row 4, Seats 7 and 8, for the record), I'm going to find an ND security officer telling me I've been banned from campus? No, I ... hope not.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with EVERYTHING you said!

One nit and it disturbs me a little.

"Do I have a problem with officers of the law skulking about waiting for an underage person to touch a beer? Yes, I do."

So, it's ok to break the law as long as Law Enforcement is "skulking"?

I respect your personal views on this matter but where is the line that breaking the law is a bad thing, even when LE is "skulking"?

9/29/2008 10:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not quite sure I fully understand what Anon 10:25 was talking about, but I think the line is fairly clearly drawn in the Bill of Rights and the idea that we don't live in a police state where the government can detain people without individualized suspicion, let alone probable cause or due process.

This probably isn't the forum to get into this, but if anyone would like to talk about whether something being "the law" means its worthy of being a self-proving argument and toeing the line is the right answer and always results in the proper result, I'd be more than happy to oblige.

9/29/2008 11:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who said anything about a "police state"? "Individual suspicion"? An underage person "touching a beer" I would suspect be more than enough for PC to detain that underage person on suspicion. Don't try to confuse the issue with the Bill of Rights when the issue is really about accepting the breaking of the law only when it comes to underage drinking. All that I am saying is the law is the law and I asked where the line is that one law is acceptable to break and others are not.

9/29/2008 11:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

let them drink beer

9/30/2008 01:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been a faithful follower of the news posted on NDNation for years. I have to say my opinion, of the site, has suffered some damage over the past couple of days.

First the characterization of the police in these matters as "Gestapo" and "SS" in several of the blogs, is quite a stretch. I'll agree that both factions wore uniforms, but I believe the parallel stops there. I think that using these descriptors can be likened to using slurs to describe races. Sure there are police officers out there that abuse their authority, but to compare them with entities that tortured and murdered millions of people, is a bit unfair. I don't believe the Rock should had allowed blogs using these character assasinations. They are inflamatory and serve no useful purpose to seek change for the events that may have indeed ocurred.

If these situations described by some of your bloggers did indeed happen. Then they need to be brought to the attention of the administrations of the police departments that were involved. Nobody can address complaints that are offered up anonymously.

A note to the Rock and Geetar, please excercise some editorial control over anonymous inflammatory remarks made in these blogs. They serve no useful purpose and generate more damage to the NDNation than they do good.

I love going to ND games in all sports. I probably wouldn't if there wasn't a police presence. My family has been exposed to enough indiscretions on the part of intoxicated fans even with the presence of the police we have.

Because we as a society cannot accept the responsibility of our own actions, it's much easier to blame the person that is charged with pointing out our imperfections and taking the needed corrective actions.

I've been to many ND events over the years, never been arrested, never been treated poorly. But then I don't present myself in a condition that can be questioned.

Please try to regain some control of this madness. It has gone too far out of control.

9/30/2008 01:31:00 AM  
Blogger SB7 said...

Can I assume you never brake the speed limit then? After all, "the law is the law."

9/30/2008 01:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're avoiding the issue here by parsing words. It has nothing to do with underage drinking.
Anywhere you are, should an officer actively watch you, for no purpose other than waiting for you do something wrong?

Basically, the cliché motto "to serve and protect" has been replaced by something like "you're guilty, we just have to catch you in the act".

9/30/2008 06:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not just about underage drinkers though. The po-po are raising hell for alums, visitors and students over the legal age as well. I will agree that drunken behavior needs to be regulated, but that should not raise the suspicion of drunkenness to this level. People are naturally clumsy without alcohol, but the current situation creates cause for alarm whenever someone trips over the ground or loses their footing in the stadium. Besides which, drunkenness does not necessarily include light drinking, which is all the more common at tailgates than the type of binge drinking that warrants this type of treatment. I can't believe I am writing this, but it seems necessary to fight for lawful application of the 21st Amendment in South Bend.

9/30/2008 07:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Mike Regan 1973 said...

To Anon @ 1:30 am:
"Nobody can address complaints that are offered up anonymously." Nor can we accept defenses offered up anonymously. Identify yourself. Have the courage you so righteuosly claim those who complain about this behavior don't!
Your cowardice in refusing to identify yourself, while criticizing the validity of others who've done exactly what you did, would be comical if it weren't so rediculous and disgusting. It destroys the potential value of your argument, and suggests the comments are those of a lackey for the people responsible for these policies.

9/30/2008 07:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Probably the only thing that will get the University's attention are a few law suits for assualt by some of the overzealous ushers and police. Doesn't take much physical contact to make an assault. A few responsible witnesses is all it takes. Keep those cell phone cameras ready! Probably a better strategy than boycotting and just hurting yourself.

9/30/2008 08:57:00 AM  
Anonymous JW said...

Did Robert Evans write this column?

9/30/2008 09:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Sean said...

I was at the PU game - I was drinking - I am over 21 - there were many under 21 persons drinking at the tailgate next to mine - no one was loud, annoying, or unruly - no one was harassed and at least 4 St. Joe County officers made their way by the tailgates and did nothing but say "hello" - sometimes where there is smoke there is fire - and sometimes when someone blows hot air a fire erupts - no one is perfect but I was happy with the environment at the game...both outside it and in it.

9/30/2008 09:51:00 AM  
Anonymous ND '78 said...

Glad to see a little more balance in this post than others around the Internet. The "Culture of Alcohol" went to an excess, so the enforcement actions are probably the pendulum swinging too far the other way.

How many times over the years have you seen drunken and rowdy behavior at games that went too far. Kids puking in the stands, drunks falling into the fans sitting in front or behind, screaming curses with every breath.

Btw, I read on one blog, "how drinking helps fire up the fans" and makes them cheer louder, etc. Wrong! I've seen the exact opposite. Many drinkers show up in a stupor and barely cheer, or take so long to figure out when to cheer the next play has already snapped. But worst of all, too many of the imbibers dump on the players and coaches, yell obscenities, and cruel fat comments, etc., when the team isn't winning. They aren't supporting th team, they are berating the team. My daughter and her girlfriends' first ND game (earlier this year against the Aztecs) was ruined by drunken ND students cursing and berating our team throughout the whole game, while also managing to fall on them and others, and arguing with other students who were cheering for ND, etc.

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying anyone who has a swig shouldn't be allowed in the stadium, but rather I suspect that too many of these complaints about obnoxious drunks in the stands have reached administration ears.

My response is going on too long, so I'll leave out my experience of also being hit by a DUI driver that put my passenger in the hospital with back injuries. That could fill pages, so just remember, it also happens occasionally after games.

Bottom line -- when complaining to the Admin about excessive efforts by law enforcement, don't forget what led to this. Tailgaters are supposed to be fun, football games are supposed to be fun. It's when too many of those under the influence get carried away that the a heavy hand is brought forth in response.

9/30/2008 10:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone find irony in the fact that Cappy Gagnon is recommending people be arrested for things very similar to things he did in the stadium when he was a student?

9/30/2008 11:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband and I moved to South Bend 11 years ago so that my husband could get his MBA from Notre Dame. My Father, my Uncles, Aunts and quite a few of my home town neighbors financed Notre Dame educations for their children, as I expect to for mine. But that does not change the fact that every year, like a flock of geese, the foul-mouthed, drunken and belligerent Alumn and fans return to Notre Dame. Surprisingly women as well as men. I can't even begin to tell you all of the horrendous offenses that I have personally witnessed, and it has been quite an embarrassingly large amount. That being said, the percentage of losers compared to the wonderfully caring and giving Alumn and fans is small. To coin a phrase, "one bad apple.....". My suggestion to those of you reading this is if your friend tells you he got arrested or removed from the stadium, or you got arrested or removed from the stadium, you more than likely deserved it. Reassess your behavior. Most belligerent drunks don't concider themselves belligerent drunks and have no way of evaluating their own behavior. In this day and age I feel ridiculous asking, "Have you ever watched the show "Cops" before?

9/30/2008 11:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the other side, does this alcohol enforcement take away from real security duties? You bet it does! At last year's USC game when I returned to the Library lot during the 4th quarter(I just couldn't take any more) I found that my 20ft flagpole with a 3 x 5 flag was stolen during the game. The parking lot rules clearly state that there will be security during the game. There was no one to even report the incident to. When I called the campus police to report it, they were surprised that someone would do that but had no answers about where the security was. That is the last I heard from them.

9/30/2008 11:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

do the excise police who are state employees devote the same amount of emplyees, energy and resources at purdue, indiana, ball state etc. i have been to tailgates at purdue and saw no one from the excise police. while i have never been to an indiana tailgate, i hear the pregame party lasts the whole game and many students et al don't ever leave the tailgate. i'd like to hear from those of you who have been to other indiana college tailgates and whether you saw local police, campus security or state excise police.

9/30/2008 11:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Tom N. said...

This was, I think, a fair summation of the situation. The problem doesn't appear to be (a) going after underage drinkers, (b) going after the legitimately intoxicated, especially when (c) they cause a disturbance, interfering with others' enjoyment of the football game day experience.

The problem appears to be the presumption by police and ushers that anyone who stumbles or trips is drunk and must be detained, and overreaching behavior by police and security who clearly won't tolerate any criticism within their earshot. Most cops learn to tune such things out while they keep their attention focused on actual violations and problems requiring their intervention. This does not appear to be the case at ND games, judging from the large number of posts.

ND Nation denizens appear, on average, to be a fairly conservative bunch. If this were just a couple of malcontents grousing because they got caught, I think this group would have swarmed all over them quickly. The fact they didn't, and that there seem to be numerous stories from various sources, suggests a real problem.

I will be vigilant - and sober - this weekend at the Stanford game. Hopefully, that will ensure a good experience.

9/30/2008 12:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"do the excise police who are state employees devote the same amount of emplyees, energy and resources at purdue, indiana, ball state etc. i have been to tailgates at purdue and saw no one from the excise police..."

You bet your backside they do, if not more. This is really an argument that ND folks should lose, as folks at the three state schools have been dealing with the excesses of the ISEP for roughly 20 years now. Any person who attended any one of those three schools since 1989 can tell you at multiple horror stories involving ISEP's legendary abuse of power. In the mid-90s, I was present at an off-campus party in Muncie that ISEP infiltrated. It was a laid-back affair, with about 30 people hanging out and talking over a keg. The undercover ISEP officers played euchre for a good half-hour before putting down their beers (yes, they were drinking on duty) and announcing the raid, at which point officers swooped in like they were raiding a drug kingpin. Everyone at the party was over 21, but that didn't stop the officers from roughing up a few students in the process and trying to tag the residents of the apt. with a bogus "maintaining a common nuisance" charge (dropped by the sensible local DA a few days later, thankfully).

So, we've all dealt with this. I saw one poster expressing shock that there was a bigger police presence at ND than a recent IU game, using the logic that there are four times as many students in Bloomington. True, but ND draws approximately 50,000 more fans for an average football home game. ISEP *always* follows the numbers.

Focus on the individual acts of abuse and police overzealousness, and less on the "they're picking on us because we're ND," because that's pretty groundless. Purdue, IU and Ball State students were dealing with this nonsense long before ISEP ever set foot in South Bend.

(Come to think of it, collaborating with fans of those three schools might be a good idea in terms of shining a statewide spotlight on ISEP's abuses over the years, and get Indiana taxpayers thinking about if this is something they want to continue to fund...)

9/30/2008 01:00:00 PM  
Anonymous tednict said...

Mike Regan, '73, I agree with you. I am really tired of the "out" called Anonymous or Anon. I wish it wasn't an option for people to use.

9/30/2008 01:06:00 PM  
Anonymous PittsburghIrish said...

I attended the Air Force game last year with my wife, first ND game in a few years. We overpartied that beautiful morning, and as a result had to leave the game at halftime, and head back to our hotel in Fremont IN, about an hour's drive. I wish the campus police had gotten me for $500, the DUI I got on the tollroad cost me over $7,000 and a suspended 60 days in jail. I'm from PA, and let me tell you, Indiana has BRUTAL laws re: alcohol and drinking and driving.

9/30/2008 06:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you ever worked in the law enforcement community yourself? I didn't think so!!! Excessive force?? Have you ever tried controlling a volatile situation, especially where alcohol is a factor? I didn't think so!! Don't want police contact, then do what society and it's rules set forth.... Keep up the good work!

9/30/2008 07:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every school is going to have the cops coming into parties with more than 20+ people. The difference is how they handle the situation. In Ohio they usually break the party up putting people at risk with drunken driving. They also will bring the paddy wagons for the underage drinkers who didn't get away fast enough or are hidden in closets. I have been to an IU football game and the tailgate was definitely more crazy then ND. I haven't been to an ND since they played Tenn. at home about 3 years ago and we were playing beer pong then and didn't have any problems. From the posts here I can tell things have changed. Do I believe some to be good....yes.....some bad....yes. The question is where do we draw the line and it's a line that I don't believe anyone can actually put into words but someone has to be in charge of giving an educated opinion on situations. While the cops and ushers are the ones who need to do this they also have to recognize when they are abusing athority. Standing and just watching/video taping tailgating is absurd. They are there to keep things under control not to monitor how many drinks I'm on or let alone my father. I agree with both sides and there has to be some sort of discussion between ND, Police, and Ushers to get the situation under control. I just moved to Boston from Ohio and while I have been to many tailgating parties at different universities (OSU while I hate them they are the best I've been to) I'm looking forward to the BC game to see what it's like. I have a friend who's father is season ticket holders for BC and every weekend she comes home from the home games she talks about how much fun they had partying. Lastly, everyone deserves the right to leave an opinion whether I or anyone else agrees or disagrees. To everyone going to home games this year have fun but also be respectful to everyone! GO IRISH!!

9/30/2008 07:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel as though the football game is played for the current students. They are the ones stuck in South Bend, and their autumn outside of a few SYRs is pretty mundane.
Let them have alcohol on campus, let them get drunk and let them scream their heads off at the game. Don't sit near the students if you don't want to deal with "it all."
Quit your whining and get a life. You are out of college. Shut up, or grab a beer and shout some obsenities.

10/01/2008 04:58:00 PM  

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