The black tarp fences seen all across fraternity row in the spring are a requirement of UA’s social events regulations and have been for many years.
Despite appearance concerns, Cathy Andreen, UA spokeswoman, said the fences help provide security and privacy for parties where alcohol is being served.
“All social events meeting certain criteria, including those that involve more than 50 people, have musical entertainment, etc., must be registered with the Office of the Dean of Students,” Andreen said.
Once a party is registered, the organization is required to follow the guidelines outlined in the Department of Student Affairs’ Party Smart guide.
According to the standards and restrictions for social events found in the guide, all outdoor social events must be held within the enclosed areas with a monitored entrance. Permanent fencing is preferred. However, temporary, quick-removal fencing may be accepted. Also, fencing must be a minimum of 6 feet tall.
Because most fraternities do not have 6-foot high, all-encompassing fences, they are forced to create the makeshift fences built each spring for the famous day party season.
Will Patton, a junior who serves as house manager for Kappa Alpha, said constructing these fences can take anywhere from one to three hours.
“I understand the concept of wanting to hide what’s going on, but the fences are usually very unattractive and inefficient,” he said. “You can always count on some fraternities’ fences falling down and looking pretty terrible.”
Patton said despite their appearance, these fences are actually quite pricey and most can only be used one or two times.
“In the end, I have mixed reviews about the fences,” he said. “It can be good to hide a spring party, but it’s not like the public doesn’t know what is going on behind the trash bag type material anyway.”
Ryan Cechovic, a junior and member of Phi Gamma Delta, said the fences were important because not everyone on campus drinks, and if the general public were to see people openly drinking, they might find it offensive.
“I think they’re a good thing because the University allows us to pretty much do our own thing and have a good time as long as it doesn’t offend others and the fences are what allows that to happen,” Cechovic said. “Plus, the University probably doesn’t want visitors to remember their trip to Tuscaloosa as a bunch of drunken college kids.”
Margaret Coats, a senior and member of Phi Mu, agreed the fences are necessary because they provide a safer environment for the fraternity parties.
“The fences also keep people driving by from seeing a party that are sometimes a little wild and the University doesn’t need people driving around seeing college kids drinking all day,” Coats said. “While there’s nothing wrong with college kids drinking at a party, it’s not something that the University needs to advertise.”