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Posted on Fri, Oct 16, 2009 : 6:04 a.m.

University of Michigan students protesting today to defend their right to tailgate

By Ryan J. Stanton


U-M junior Joey Juanico and friend Jubilee Olah paint a banner Thursday afternoon at the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority house on Hill Street in preparation for today's protest march from campus to city hall. The banner reads: "It's not a tailgate, it's a tradition."

Ryan J. Stanton |

University of Michigan students plan to fight for their right to party this afternoon.

More than 1,400 students have confirmed on a Facebook events page they plan to attend a 3 p.m. protest march from the center of campus to Ann Arbor's city hall, defending their right to tailgate on game day.

"This is for the party animals, the passer byers, the fans and our guests!" reads the invitation sent out to more than 5,000 students on Facebook.

U-M junior Joey Juanico, the organizer of the demonstration, said the march is in response to what students characterize as a "crackdown on tailgating" by the city of Ann Arbor during Homecoming Weekend.

Multiple houses on South State Street and other areas were ticketed during the weekend of Sept. 26 because of alleged underage drinking, sitting on roofs and noise complaints, among other violations, the Michigan Daily reported earlier this month. Juanico said he was at one of the parties that was broken up.

"We are aware of safety concerns and are more than willing to compromise with the city in making sure these events are safe and fun for everyone," Juanico said. "However, to destroy a culture and tradition in order to save a headache or inconvenience is unacceptable."

Saturday's game against Delaware State is the first home football game since Homecoming, when police broke up several tailgate parties on lawns.

Ann Arbor Police Lt. Angella Abrams said the police department had no official comment. She said anyone who obtains the proper permits is welcome to protest, and the department will let the march happen.

U-M senior Abhishek Mahanti, president of the Michigan Student Assembly, said his organization has been working as a liaison to the city on behalf of students upset about the tailgate crackdown. He said talks with the city attorney and police department have been positive so far, but the protest will go on to show students care about their right to tailgate.

"We're all ears to working together and getting to the bottom of this and figuring out how we as students can live our lives and how we can be safe and responsible and moderate about it," Mahanti said.

The city attorney's office sent notices to houses along the 900 block of South State Street in September, ordering them to "cease and desist from engaging in illegal and dangerous conduct."

City Council Member Stephen Rapundalo, D-2nd Ward, said despite what some students think, there is no "ban on tailgating" in effect. But, he said, the city is trying to curb "some behavior that is quite worrisome."

"There has been no shift in policy," he said. "Had there been, it would have been something that would have impacted the entire community. Instead, the police have identified a very acute public safety issue in that specific geographic location and are working within some longstanding city regulations and I think are most concerned about the safety of the students."

Juanico said today's march will begin on the sidewalk in front of U-M President Mary Sue Coleman's house on South University Avenue. He and friend Jubilee Olah spent Thursday afternoon painting a large banner that they plan to carry, reading: "It's not a tailgate, it's a tradition."

"It is a representation of our freedom to enjoy life and is deeply embedded into the history of not only the town of Ann Arbor, but throughout the United States," Juanico said. "It promotes a sense of community and friendship that has attracted myself as well as many others to the city of Ann Arbor from all over the country."

Ryan J. Stanton covers government for Reach him at or 734-623-2529.


The Picker

Mon, Oct 19, 2009 : 6:55 p.m.

Tracy and 4blue: You make some assumptions in regard to my age that may suprise you. Going over that hill can come at any physical age, I know many 19 year olds going on 60, how pathetic and sad. There is plenty of time in life to be a Fuddy Duddy and so little time to be young and free of societal responsiblities and obligations. So I say live it up. I also sense a twinge of jealosy in some of these comments that perhaps youth is wasted on the young. Its not too late to change your attitude no matter what your age, lighten up, enjoy a beverage on a Football Saturday and cheer on the greatest football program that ever was. GO BLUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Sun, Oct 18, 2009 : 8:27 a.m.

In all fairness, haven't seen too many adults take time out of their busy schedules to protest the "important stuff," either. If there have been local Ann Arbor rallies against social injustice, Iraq, bank bailouts, healthcare status quo, genocide, poor economy, super-poor road & bridge conditions, our underpaid & overworked police force, global warming, crime...well, I've missed it! You're part of this community, too, dear elders. I'd say that as compasses, you're doing a lousy job of guiding promising and intelligent young minds and standing up for what's right, yourselves...and you don't have ignorance as an excuse. Not only that, but you helped create all of these messes (either through action or apethetic inaction) that these kids will have to clean up or squander in.


Sat, Oct 17, 2009 : 10:39 a.m.

I am a U-M student, thank you very much. Hardly over the hill.

The Picker

Sat, Oct 17, 2009 : 9:28 a.m.

Again, you can tell by these comments who's over the hill! Another example of the coming Nanny State. Party On!!! Go Blue!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Sat, Oct 17, 2009 : 9:09 a.m.

Of course the students aren't going to protest genocide or some such thing. It doesn't directly affect them. Now, the tailgate thing? It puts a crimp in their social life! We can't let that happen! Good to know the students have their priorities straight.

The Picker

Sat, Oct 17, 2009 : 7:50 a.m.

Ed: Thanks for the link to the Beastie Boyz, I can't believe its 20 years. Most of these kids don't remember it. I believe they are picking on S. State because Bill Martins'office is across the street. Maybe thats where the protest should be!


Fri, Oct 16, 2009 : 11:02 p.m.

Ann Arbor is a happy city. Students had party. Students had protest in front of the city hall. It becomes a news. Few days ago, Oct 13, Ann Arbor homeless community had a protest in front of the court house. Not so many people care about it. It was originally over 30 homeless planning to join. But finally, they're worried they'd be banned by Delonis Homelss Shelter (they need food and warm center). They dared not join the rally. There're only 50 beds at Delonis, but we have over 700 homeless, all these years, homeless sleep on chairs on the second floor of the shelter. They sleep in dumpsters, bathrooms, cemetery, parking structures, under the bridge, hidden wooded area. They lost fingers or toes by frostbites, some even die of hypothermia. These are the people who really need others to do protest for them. Think about those 25-30% mental illness, disabled, chronic disease homeless, they are being put to sleep on chairs for life because of our defect system which cannot provide enough assistance. Here, I see the Heaven and the Hell in Ann Arbor. I pray for both. Students can keep enjoying their young lives while the destitute in our community have more people to care and love them. Hello, young people, would you please share part of your energy to join our homeless protest on Nov 10 in front of Washtenaw court house at 10:00 because a homeless man "Caleb Poirier" got arrested and being accused of "Trespassing Michigan Land". Homeless have no place to sleep. The man has been taking medication for over 13 years, please think about working for the unfortunate, thank you very much! Want to know who is sleeping on chairs, please check their leg. Most of them have "Deep Vein Trambosis" you can see big green vein floating up to the surface, then you'd know they're homeless guys. 25-30% are veterans. Our homeless protest needs your help, Nov 10, 10:00-12:00 in front of Washtenaw Court House. Thanks for caring the invisible poor guys!


Fri, Oct 16, 2009 : 7:30 p.m.

jolah: Look at this from the other side. It's nothing personal, but this city has a history of a few (drunken) morons ruining the party for everyone. The last thing we need here in A2 are a repeat of the basketball riots from the late 80's and early 90's. Or the bedlam that used to happen in East Lansing. Having lived and partied in the area that is under closer inspection, I will tell you that these busts are cyclic and usually happen when the parties are going too far. Police yourselves so that the cops don't have to do it - as I've gotten older I've realized that they want people to have a good time too but just want them to be safe about it.


Fri, Oct 16, 2009 : 5:20 p.m.

I don't understand why people are being so pessimistic about this protest. We weren't talking about drinking, we were talking about a tradition that has been going on for much longer than our we've been at Michigan. I'm guessing the people that had negative things to say about it were among those that sat in the Ugli on Saturday's. Look at other campuses, we are far from the only one with tailgates on game days.


Fri, Oct 16, 2009 : 4:42 p.m.

I think the whole damn thing is Rich Rod's fault and there should be a Free Press and investigation!!! For what it is worth, I grew up in Ann Arbor. I did all this and more. I can also take you to the graves of at least eight of my friends who died before they were twenty as a result of underage drinking. So, if you really want to protest for the right to underage drink, get a really good suit for the funerals, and come up with a really good caring sounding statement for the grieving family members. I got no problem with partying, anyone who knows me knows that is true. I'll be out there early Saturday tailgating with the best of them. I just want these kids to know that what they feel is important enough to protest for might be against the law for a reason and that underage drinking can really lead to tragic results. Results that they will have no choice but to live with forever. So, go ahead and party, have fun and be SAFE!!


Fri, Oct 16, 2009 : 4:31 p.m.

Blueroses3...amen!'re spot on...the last thing our Great Nation needs is for the future to dumb-down by killing off more brain cells. The gene pool's only running with shallow waters as is....


Fri, Oct 16, 2009 : 3:57 p.m.

If this is what passes for political action at the University of Michigan, well, what can I say. A march to defend underage drinking and the right to PAR-TAY? Gimme a break.


Fri, Oct 16, 2009 : 3:43 p.m.

I think everybody is missing the point here, they're not protesting for their "right to break the law", they're protesting for their right to carry on a longstanding tradition of tailgating here which is very important to them, as well as many other people from this community and beyond, and what is wrong for protesting for something that so many people care about and are directly affected by, probably more so than many of these other causes listed here? If they want to ticket kids for underage drinking fine, they've been doing that for years anyway, but to selectively shut down a small group of houses, located right in the middle of a large college campus on game day, for noise violations is ridiculous (the rest of the city is pretty loud too last time I checked), also anyone seeking "peace and quiet" who would choose to live in such an area must not be very smart either...


Fri, Oct 16, 2009 : 3:28 p.m.

Live report: At least 3000 in the streets, plenty of open alcohol and the smell of reefer is in the air. Is this the Hash Bash or what? It's electric and the cops are being kewl and letting the students do their thing.....which is what they should do on game day. Will try and upload the live report to YouTube.


Fri, Oct 16, 2009 : 2:55 p.m.

Okay, so let's protest our right to break the law...then a handful of people can protest their right to home invasions, rape, assault...and before anyone pops a vein in their forehead...I know there is a vast difference, but only in the degree of crime...nonetheless...a crime is a crime...because you attend our esteemed institution of higher learning...does not mean you're entitled to do what you want...I, along with everyone else, must obey the law...if ya don't like...change it!


Fri, Oct 16, 2009 : 2:10 p.m.

Is this about underage drinking? Where is the action to change this law? Smart enough to get into a great University, yet naive and lazy enough to think that they can avoid the work it takes to change a law.


Fri, Oct 16, 2009 : 2:03 p.m.

Patrick: I was on South U June 19-21 1969. Just so you know what was printed in the Wonderful Woods Gazette (Ann Arbor News) had little to do with what actually happened. I have the articles framed and they are a never ending source of amusement for those of us in the streets those nights.


Fri, Oct 16, 2009 : 1:43 p.m.

Fjord: I never said that they weren't allowed to ticket people for breaking the law, I was merely responding to another reader's post. So learn some tact and don't accuse people of things they aren't doing. Did you not have fun in college? I'm sure you weren't the world's most perfect citizen back in your day. Disorderly conduct/Noise violations/etc are ticketable offenses, but to what extent does the city need to go to enforce this when there are a myriad problems that affect the entire city instead of a couple hundred drunk kids on 8 saturdays a year. Let's work on the crime, the miserable roads, the homeless, unemployment and more.


Fri, Oct 16, 2009 : 1:33 p.m.

Gee, I feel real stupid, I must have read over the part in the Constitution that said "The government shall make no law restricting tailgating." Quickly, someone call the ACLU, they're looking for more oppressed people to ride to a pay day.


Fri, Oct 16, 2009 : 1:28 p.m.

Feel the power you young and restless pioneers! You can change the world! Take to the streets, talk to those in power and learn to negotiate, learn to work the system. In an off handed way, this can be part of your educational experience. If you can get >1000 walking to City Hall to protest crackdowns on parties... will you try to get 10,000 to walk down Main Street this spring to protest Global Warming? Try a tailgate party after that! Awesome!


Fri, Oct 16, 2009 : 1:12 p.m.

@voiceofreason: "With this ban, the city is attempting to limit legal activities occurring on private property." If the activities were legal, no tickets would have been written. Underage drinking and violation of noise ordinances are illegal. As in, against the law. And when you break the law, you can be ticketed, arrested, etc. Is this really such a difficult concept to grasp? This spoiled Juanico child claims that "To destroy a culture and tradition in order to save a headache or inconvenience is unacceptable," but what about the tradition of abiding by the law? Just because you view something as a culture or a tradition doesn't mean the laws should change to accommodate your behavior. There are many behaviors that could be defended as "cultures" or "traditions," but which also happen to be criminal. Beware the slippery slope. I suspect Juanico's parents never said "no" to him for fear of damaging his precious self-esteem, and now he and the rest of these brats think they're entitled to run roughshod over the law in pursuit of a good time. When I was in school, we flouted the law too, but if we got busted, we accepted our fate. We didn't whine about it or organize ridiculous protests. We may have been young, but we understood that there could be consequences when we crossed the line. Apparently these kids think they should be the ones to draw that line. ABreesUM09, being "young and carefree" doesn't give you the right to break the law. Grow up. You act like it's your constitutional right to be drunk and disorderly. It's not. You do not get a free pass just because you're in college. I've seen some stupid protests in my day, but this takes the cake.


Fri, Oct 16, 2009 : 12:55 p.m.

@steve339 "Have you given the consideration that the THUGS are here because of the parties?? All the people that were assaulted and robbed this summer were drunk. The THUGS come into the party and start stealing from the houses. No, the enforcement is not just about stopping parties and suppressing our youth. And yes, us Old Folk do remember what it was like to be young and carefree." ---------------------- What are you talking about? 95% of the crime boom has occurred with no one in the home or the victim being burglarized while walking alone at night. This may be one of the worst arguments I have ever read. Go back and look at the facts before you comment on a story that you clearly have a bias for. You may "REMEMBER what it's like to be young and carefree" but stop raining on the parade of those who are STILL young and carefree. If you don't want to put up with living in a college town, don't live in a college town. It is 4 hours on a Saturday morning.


Fri, Oct 16, 2009 : 11:47 a.m.

^^^^^^^^Here comes Rusty!^^^^^^^^^


Fri, Oct 16, 2009 : 10:51 a.m.

This block of parties adds to the entire college football experience. Please don't rob these students of their final years of fruitful youth simply because those days are already behind you. The parties are not "out of control", nor do they happen any other time than football Saturday. The "Michigan Football Experience" is the reason many UofM students choose to attend school in Ann Arbor over other places. The city of Ann Arbor has already successfully dismantled popular traditions (such as the "Naked Mile") for UofM students. Because these occurred on public property, it is somewhat understandable. With this ban, the city is attempting to limit legal activities occurring on private property. Please don't support further efforts of city council to rob Ann Arbor of its appeal/individuality.


Fri, Oct 16, 2009 : 10:42 a.m.

It is difficult to understand the priorities of students at a self proclaimed premiere University who feel strongly that they should "protest" their "right" to keep stuffed furniture on front porches and their "right" to drink, block sidewalks, damage property, and generally make the whole area look like a landfill. It seems that, for some, having fun on game day absolutely MUST involve being drunk and disorderly. I think it is these students who need to get a grip. Pretty sure that their parents wouldn't let them behave that way at home, so why do they think that Ann Arborites should just stop being unreasonable and let them trash the area?? I'm sure there is a difference between a game day party and the events that were broken up by the police.


Fri, Oct 16, 2009 : 10:20 a.m.

I'm guessing this is to crack down on this activity and change habits (HA!)before they ditch all of the city community standards officers next July. Then NO one will be ticketing anyone for trash strewn around town for all. Students will be happy. How about residents?

David Briegel

Fri, Oct 16, 2009 : 10:13 a.m.

I agree with tater and others. It is this way on every campus and I have been to all of them! Selective enforcement of our laws leads to disrespect! The golf courses and Crisler lots and all around the stadium have some wild parties with open intoxicants and rowdy/celebratory fans including Pioneer High lots. Complete waste of law enforcement time and energy.


Fri, Oct 16, 2009 : 10:12 a.m.

Ann Arbor: a places where bridges are near collapse, where cops are being laid off for budget reasons, where the city blocks development, where the priorities area $35 million recycling plants, greenways, underground parking, and worrying about college parties. Oh...and I certainly hope there were no COUCHES on the porches. Get a grip people.


Fri, Oct 16, 2009 : 10:09 a.m.

To bad the students can't get this excited about something worthwhile like job creation, world peace and the like..oh well...maybe if Mommy and daddy took away their credit card and PS3 that would get them to focus.


Fri, Oct 16, 2009 : 9:42 a.m.

"What a waste of law enforcement resources, perhaps they should be tracking down the thugs that have infiltrated ann arbor contributing to the current crime boom."-InsideTheHall. Have you given the consideration that the THUGS are here because of the parties?? All the people that were assaulted and robbed this summer were drunk. The THUGS come into the party and start stealing from the houses. No, the enforcement is not just about stopping parties and suppressing our youth. And yes, us Old Folk do remember what it was like to be young and carefree.

David Paris

Fri, Oct 16, 2009 : 9:10 a.m.

I've walked by the row of houses on game-day an hour or so before the kick-off and I gotta tell ya, it was exciting. From the front door to the street was just a mass of students for two or three houses in a row, with a few of Ann Arbors Finest mixed in with the students, and it was like a nucleus of Wolverine Enthusiasm that would make Bob Ufer proud. As long as the students can keep it under control, and nobody gets hurt... if I were a cop- I would Volunteer for that beat! No tickets, just Go Blue!


Fri, Oct 16, 2009 : 9:05 a.m.

Good grief when did A2 turn into a bunch of puritans OR is this the nanny state in full flight???? What a waste of law enforcement resources, perhaps they should be tracking down the thugs that have infiltrated ann arbor contributing to the current crime boom.

Mike D.

Fri, Oct 16, 2009 : 9 a.m.

I look at this optimistically. There's been no significant protest at U of M of ANYTHING in decades. Iraq? They don't care. Bank "bail-out?" Don't care. Millions of children without health care? Don't care. Genocide persistent throughout the world? Don't care. Now, suddenly, the pendulum is swinging back. People are getting pissed off. Maybe the rage is still subconscious, so it manifests for the wrong reasons, but at least it manifests. And it could be the start of something much bigger. If an 18-year-old can protest not being able to party today, she can protest social injustice tomorrow. Shedding of apathy is a movement I can support. The biggest tragedy would be if none of the kids even managed to show up to a protest for something so near and dear to their hearts.


Fri, Oct 16, 2009 : 8:33 a.m.

I'm with the old timers in here. I feel soooo sorry for these U of M students who want underage people to sit on house roofs drunk.


Fri, Oct 16, 2009 : 8:20 a.m.

in4mation This is for you! I am not one of those that "can't stand living in a college town" However if they all left some of the freeloading college students would have to ask mommy & daddy for more money so they could party!


Fri, Oct 16, 2009 : 8:17 a.m.

Ticketing drunk and stupid college students is a great revenue enhancer for the city! Of course, the city could just issue tailgate party permits for a fee and enhance the revenue even more. The down side is that someone responsible would have to take the permit out and be liable for the conduct of the party.


Fri, Oct 16, 2009 : 8:16 a.m.

Read this article if you think today's college kids are somehow bigger whiners and boobs than yesterday's: Don't ticket me for doin' it in the road, man!


Fri, Oct 16, 2009 : 8:13 a.m.

@PersonX: Were you in Pittsburgh a few weeks ago? Plenty of people still show up for a good old fashioned anti-corporatocracy protest.

Jon Saalberg

Fri, Oct 16, 2009 : 7:43 a.m.

"We are aware of safety concerns and are more than willing to compromise with the city in making sure these events are safe and fun for everyone," Juanico said. "However, to destroy a culture and tradition in order to save a headache or inconvenience is unacceptable." I hope this kid's parents don't know how their money is being spent - not on education, but on supporting their child's efforts to support rabble-rousing and illegal behavior. Underage drinking is illegal, period. I'm amazed that someone who is a smart U-M student doesn't understand that or understand why annoyed neighbors might want their peace and quiet.

The Picker

Fri, Oct 16, 2009 : 7:16 a.m.

I say Go for it! It appears that you do have to fight for your right to paaaarrrty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Fri, Oct 16, 2009 : 7:06 a.m.

Having gone through this right of passage (nearby or at the locations in question), I would say there have been some differences when I was seeing the parties this year: the kids are younger and drunker, the alcohol is way more out in the open, the number of houses has multiplied. Open intoxication is not a right - we were busted by the cops too back in the day. Protest if it makes you feel better, but realize that there are other ways to celebrate too. Now, there it is, I am officially old...


Fri, Oct 16, 2009 : 6:45 a.m.

It makes me feel old to say this, but there was a time when students walked in protest for social justice and other trivial issues... now breaking the law in defense of drunken screaming is a"right"...

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, Oct 16, 2009 : 6:08 a.m.

"were ticketed during the weekend of Sept. 26 because of... noise complaints" As long as game day noise is an issue, I'd like to complain about the noise at that big house on the northeast corner of Main and Stadium. Some knucklehead there has a megaphone that can be heard for several blocks. I can even hear it at Packard and Platt when the wind blows just right. AS long as they are writing that guy a ticket they might as well write a few more for public consumption of alcohol anywhere across the street. They could pay special attention to alcohol consumption at the Ann Arbor Public school across the street since last time I knew it was a "drug free zone". Unless of course the police are selectively enforcing the law, picking on college kids. But they wouldn't do that would they? Disclaimer:I'm 57 years old and watch the football games on TV.


Fri, Oct 16, 2009 : 6:04 a.m.

Maybe they should cram into phone booths or swallow goldfish like more serious generations. They are young and in college. The weight of the world will be theirs too soon.


Fri, Oct 16, 2009 : 5:55 a.m.

So let me get this straight: the ability to get drunk, make a fool of oneself, and violate noise ordinances is now a civil rights issue? If this is the kind of thing that spurs this generation to protest, I weep for our nation's future. The outsized sense of entitlement on display here is stunning.