As thousands of enthusiastic fans travel to New York City on Nov. 22 to watch the 150th meeting of college football’s most-played rivalry, there is concern surrounding how Lehigh will address safety protocol and security concerns regarding its students.
New York City, with a bustling population of over eight million people, is far from the safety and familiarity of Goodman Stadium. Students will likely be out of their element and comfort zone when they make the 100-mile trip to attend the game.
“I can only imagine how difficult it will be to keep track of students in New York and keep everyone out of trouble,” said David Silfen, ’16. “When you look at how many incidents we have at our home games, it’s tough to think of a way to effectively ensure everyone’s safety outside of Lehigh’s campus.”
The Athletics Department has been working closely with the Lehigh University Police Department to ensure that everything runs smoothly in New York City. The first step directly pertaining to students will be monitoring the boarding of the school-sponsored, New York-bound buses on campus.
The Athletics Department said it wants to be certain that no one on the buses will pose a threat to anyone else’s safety and well-being, whether due to excessive intoxication or other reasons.
According to Lehigh police Chief Edward Shupp, LUPD officers will be present for the boarding of the buses, and there may be officers on board some of the buses for the length of the trip to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. He said this is intended to help mitigate the risk of students encountering legal trouble upon their arrival at the stadium.
Yankee Stadium policy states that if a guest under 21 years of age is found to be in possession of alcohol, he or she is subject to being ejected from the game without refund and may be barred from attending future events at the venue. Minors may also face legal repercussions should they find themselves in trouble for any offenses, alcohol-related or otherwise.
LUPD will be sending officers to New York, but ultimately, once students are off of Lehigh’s campus and under New York City jurisdiction, the New York Police Department will take over from there. Lafayette College is taking a similar approach to the situation.
“Our officers will not be in uniform at the game or in New York City,” Shupp said. “It is NYPD’s jurisdiction, and we have full faith in both them and Yankee Stadium security personnel to ensure everyone’s safety.”
LUPD has taken several trips to New York City to meet with and advise local law enforcement and security officers about what to expect on game day.
Many students have an optimistic view of security at Yankee Stadium and believe that students will be able to avoid trouble while there.
“Lehigh students are smart enough to be able to understand that campus and New York City are two completely different worlds and that their actions will need to be adapted,” Ashley Jhu, ’15, said. “Underage students will need to be especially careful, as they are not familiar with NYPD’s way of handling things. With some rational thinking, there is no reason everybody won’t be able to have a good time while staying out of trouble.”
With some caution and awareness of the fact that students are in an unfamiliar environment, all Lehigh fans should find themselves safe and capable of enjoying the game without any unforeseen consequences due to the collaborative effort of the athletics department, LUPD, NYPD and Yankee Stadium security.