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Students oppose changes to policy

Wei Lin | Monday, April 22, 2013

The Leprechaun Legion announced Wednesday they have changed the football seating policy for next season, sparking a wide range of strong feelings from the student body.

In an email to the student body, the Legion said football tickets will continue to be sorted by class, but they will be first-come first-serve within each class section.

“We believe that this system will allow the most passionate fans to sit closest to the field, giving our team a louder, more intimidating home-field advantage,” the email stated.

Many students, including junior Jack Gardner, expressed displeasure with the changes. Gardner began a petition on Facebook citing problems with the new method, including a sense of animosity and safety issues.

“Confrontation is inevitable as students line up hours before games, attempt to reserve spots in line, “cut” one another in line, argue about proper order, etc.,” Gardner said in the petition.

Gardner wrote that large numbers of students cramming onto the front bleachers would create a safety hazard and could also potentially damage the stadium.

Freshman Jenn Jaeger agreed with the petition and Gardner’s proposal of returning to the traditional method of assigning seats to students.

“I am also worried about sitting with my groups of friends since space will be hard to come by,” she said.

Sophomore Michael Junkins said the new policy gives football games an even more unorganized and chaotic atmosphere than they already had.

“It is complicating something very simple,” he said.

Sophomore Meredith Vieira proposed an alternative solution.

“Other schools have a system to give the most passionate fans the best seats based on attendance to other sport events,” she said. “This allows everyone to enjoy other game-day activities.”

Sophomore Wyatt Smith cited the high cost of a season ticket booklet and said he felt reassured knowing he had an assigned seat that was his and no one else’s.

“We are already paying a lot of money for these football tickets,” Smith said. “However, now you lose that sense of security, knowing that you had a unique seat.”

While they are in the minority, some students agree with the new seating policy.

Freshman Donald Dye said the method will actually produce a less chaotic environment, since many students did not follow the assigned seating policy anyway.

“For those who really care about the game, they would end up in the front and away from those who are intoxicated,” he said. “Those who decide to tailgate will be forced to sit in the back, allowing those in the front to have a more enjoyable time.”

Sophomore Keali Bjork said she understands why people are unhappy with the new policy and acknowledges there are potential problems, but she remains in favor of the change.

“I go to the games for the social aspect, so it really does not matter where I sit, and people get to sit next to unfamiliar people every time and you can potentially meet a lot more people that way,” she said. “Die-hard fans will be able to get good seating no matter what.”

In response to the argument that people will fight for undesignated seats, senior Tom Oliver said it will not change much within the student section.

“People still argue even when there is assigned seating,” he said.

Oliver said he has experienced female students arriving to the game during the third quarter and asking for their seats back, which frustrates him.

After Gardner sent his petition and its signatures to the Legion and the Ticketing Office, he said he received responses from both organizations that indicate only a small chance of a policy reversal.

“I do not think the policy is going to be changed,” he said. “Hopefully, the new system works out and we all have a blast next year, as usual, but if not, I hope the Legion, Ticketing Office and anyone else with influence over the student section make the decision to return to group seating for future [Notre Dame] classes.”