Background and timeline of events
By Robbie Lehman
The University of Iowa and Hawkeye football have been intertwined with Iowa City culture for decades. There is a strong relationship between the three areas, one that residents and students alike want to keep thriving in the future.
In August, the Princeton Review named the University of Iowa as the No. 9 Top American Party School for the 2010-11 school year. Iowa City is known around the state of Iowa and even outside of the state for its downtown atmosphere. The bar scene is that of a typical college town, which is to say vibrant.
This party school ranking occurred even after the Iowa City City Council passed a 21-only law in April that prohibited those under the legal drinking age to enter bars after 10 p.m. The law was enacted on June 1. Up until that point, several Iowa City bars were open to those 19 and above.
The city was 52-percent in favor of approving the 21-only law for the next two years, a public vote on November 2 confirmed.
University of Iowa officials were naturally aware and involved in these issues. President Sally Mason and Athletics Director Gary Barta both publicly state their hope that the close relationship between the UI and Iowa City community will continue to have a bright future.
However, recently, the atmosphere revolving around Hawkeye football has shone a negative light on both the university and city. Specifically, a problem has arisen with alcohol and the culture of tailgating—and the reckless behavior of those who take it too far when mixing the two.
Alcohol, and alcohol safety, is at the forefront of all these issues, but it is more complex than that alone. Image, status and reputation are also key factors with these subjects. It is vitally important to the UI, Iowa City and Hawkeye football to each uphold a positive image during this time of drama.
“I definitely think our community has work to do in that sense,” UI Student Government President John Rigby in an exclusive interview. “I think that’s where you can draw the connection. Looking at tailgating and the downtown scene and just looking at the off-campus party scene, socializing with alcohol, that’s been a part of college culture forever.
“But I have seen it taken to levels that can be dangerous sometimes. Obviously we have work to do, but it’s not just going to be students who have to control it,” Rigby said. “It has to be a unified effort on behalf of students, and administrative people and also public safety officers too. But I definitely think there’s a relationship there.”
This multimedia package of articles, photos, slideshows and videos seeks to provide the necessary background information, as well as give future insight, on the controversy surrounding these multifaceted and related topics. A timeline of important dates is included to add perspective.
April 6: Iowa City City Council approves a 21-only law by a 6-1 vote.
May 11: 3,300 opponents of the 21-law sign a petition that puts the issue to another vote on the November 2 ballot.
June 1: Those under 21 can no longer occupy bars or drinking establishments after 10 p.m.
August 2: Princeton Review ranks the University of Iowa as the No. 9 Top American Party School for 2010-11 school year.
August 16: UI officials publicize changes in tailgating policy for Hawkeye football home games in 2010.
September 9: Official UI news release making secondary changes to the original policy.
November 2: City votes to uphold the 21-ordinance by a 52/48 percent margin.