Date: Nov 23, 2009
To: Fourth-Year Students
Subject: Reminders: Safe and Responsible Celebrating this Weekend
1. Don’t leave a drunken friend alone, regardless of whether or not she or he is conscious. Stay with and monitor a friend who has passed out. BAC may continue to rise despite unconsciousness.
2. If you do not know what to do in a dangerous situation, or if your own judgment is impaired, call a sober friend to help you, or call 911 for help.
3. Whenever you choose to drink, take precautions to minimize risks to yourselves and others. Eat a meal beforehand, and alternate alcoholic drinks with water.
Dear Fourth-Year Students:
This week we have Thanksgiving break followed by our final home football game against Virginia Tech on Saturday. These are occasions to celebrate, but also occasions to consider safety – your own, and that of your classmates.
Sad to say, some persons in the past have used these festivities as an excuse to drink to excess, and have even claimed that what they have called the “fourth-year fifth” is a University tradition. This is emphatically not a tradition here. It is a foolish, dangerous, frequently destructive activity, and (folklore notwithstanding) only a handful of students engage in it. Those who do jeopardize their own safety and health, and often bring harm to themselves and to other persons around them.
One student died on the day of the last home football game several years ago. I attended her memorial service. I saw and experienced her family’s and her friends’ agony and bewilderment. I know no words to console a family whose child and hope for the future has died in this way. You do not want me to be in the position of trying to console your family in a similar situation.
A fifth of 80-proof liquor (17 drinks) can kill you. Seventeen drinks spaced evenly over six hours can result in a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.32 for a 160-pound man and 0.42 for a 130-pound woman. Most people lose consciousness at a BAC of more than 0.30, and a BAC of 0.40 or more is generally lethal.
Our common commitment to student self-governance, which is an authentic tradition here, demands that you take responsibility for yourself and for members of your student community. When a friend’s behavior puts her or him (or others) at risk, speak up. Show your concern. Encourage those around you to make healthy choices. When necessary, and before a good time turns to disaster, seek help and support from other students, from the deans, from the police.
Enjoy the good times with family and friends during Thanksgiving break. Go to the football game on Saturday. Have a great time, and celebrate the University’s true traditions.
John T. Casteen III
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Last Modified: Wednesday, 18-Aug-2010 10:11:45 EDT
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