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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


UWPD recommends alcohol in moderation, buddy system for students on game day

First game of 2023 football season results in 14 ejections, six arrests
Mike Hall

According to the Wisconsin State Journal, the first Badger football game of the season at Camp Randall Stadium Sept. 2 resulted in 14 ejections and six arrests — but University of Wisconsin Police Department Public Information Officer Jeff Kirchman said these numbers were lower than usual.

Opening game day is historically more incident heavy, but Kirchman said high temperatures were a contributing factor to the lower incident and attendance rate at the game. At the first game of the 2022 season against Illinois State University, UWPD reported 27 ejections and 19 arrests, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

Most ejections, arrests and tickets at Badger football games are related to underage drinking, Kirchman said. Completely stopping underage drinking from occurring would be an impossible task, Kirchman said. Instead, UWPD aims to educate students on consuming alcohol safely.


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“We understand that alcohol consumption is going to happen,” Kirchman said, “Us standing here and saying ‘don’t do it,’ that is not going to solve anything … So instead [we consider], what can we do to help affect behaviors so that people are more safe, because that’s the more important thing.”

But, UW’s commitment to educating students on alcohol safety doesn’t stop at the gates of Camp Randall. All degree-seeking undergraduate students are required to complete the online AlcoholEdu course, which teaches students about the impacts of alcohol and gives students the information they need to make healthy decisions, according to the course’s website.

Tailgating is a commonplace event on game days, even for those who do not go to the games. UW student Maggie Brock said she and her friend group still tailgate even if they do not actually attend the games.

“I always have fun, I love football season,” Brock said, though she did not get student tickets through the lottery system this year.

UWPD is aware of the tailgating and partying that goes on on game days, Kirchman said, but there are many ways to stay safe and out of trouble.

According to an article from The Badger Herald, UWPD relies on “behavior-based policing,” which means students are typically only approached when they are attracting attention to themselves engaging in illegal activity.

UWPD focuses on the people who have gone too far, especially on game days, Kirchman said. Some things officers look for at tailgates and inside the stadium include passing out, vomiting in bathrooms or behavioral complaints from other Badger fans.

Kirchman said using alcohol in moderation is key to staying safe on gameday. Moderate alcohol use is defined as up to 3 drinks for females on their day of heaviest drinking in the past two weeks, and up to 4 drinks for males, according to AlcoholEdu. Anything beyond this is considered heavy or problematic drinking. 

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Kirchman also recommended that students should stay with their friends to ensure nobody gets lost. Traveling in pairs, staying with familiar people and faces and making sure nobody gets left behind are all crucial to making sure game days stay safe and incident free, Kirchman said.

Besides alcohol related incidents, the sheer amount of people in small areas also concerns UWPD.

“The stadium itself has a capacity of just under 80,000 people, if you then look at the footprint of the immediate area around it, of the people that don’t actually go into the stadium on a game day, you’re probably easily looking at about 100,000 people just within several blocks, so that alone is a huge safety issue,” Kirchman said.

UWPD is the sole organizer of security and safety at all UW owned property, including games at Camp Randall, so everything is planned by them with help from outside and internal partners, Kirchman said.

“Game days for us as a police department are sort of an all hands on deck sort of situation,” Kirchman said.

Most officers in the department work on game days to provide safety and security for the people in the area, but UWPD also brings in outside police officers from the Madison Police Department, the Dane County Police Department and even officers from other UW system schools, Kirchman said.

Additionally, officers now help with non-emergency health incidents, instead of waiting for EMTs and paramedics to come to the scene. There were 250 medical calls during the opening game, but most were resolved by transporting the person in need to a cooling center at the stadium, Kirchman said.

Kirchman said that simply not being noticed by UWPD is the best way to avoid an interaction with an officer on game day.

“Game day is sort of like a big giant game of Whack a Mole,” Kirchman said. “If somebody brings enough attention to themselves long enough, then that’s going to bring us to them. If somebody just sort of stays below the surface or just pops their head up and is back down quickly enough, then you’re probably not going to have too many problems.”

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