Date: November 15, 2012
To: U.Va. Parents of Fourth-Year Students
From: Patricia M. Lampkin, Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer
Re: Special Message to Parents of Fourth-Year Students
Dear Parents of Fourth-Year Students:
The Cavaliers’ last home football game of the season takes place tonight against North Carolina. For many fourth-year students, this will be an occasion to have a good time with friends. Most of them will do so responsibly and safely, whether or not their celebration includes alcohol.
A small number of fourth-years, however, may use this occasion to engage in high-risk drinking. Every year, we are concerned about a few students who attempt a dangerous practice known as the fourth-year fifth – drinking a fifth of alcohol on the day of the last home football game. Over the past week, a student-led campaign has included promotional materials and messages aimed at fourth-year students. The messages urge students not to participate in this practice, or for that matter in any overconsumption of alcohol. Equally important are reminders about how to help someone who may have drunk too much and needs medical attention.
As a parent, you can help reinforce these messages to your son or daughter. Take a minute today to send your student a text or email, and be explicit if you have concerns about their plans for celebrating.
President Teresa Sullivan sent a message to fourth-year students on Tuesday, which provides information that you may find helpful. You may also enjoy watching the brief video, created by students who are members of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Team. Take a close look for your own student!
We regularly conduct surveys to learn more about students’ drinking habits so that the research will inform our education and prevention efforts. As for the drinking practice that occurs in connection with the last home football game, we know that students who belong to Inter-fraternity Council groups tend to participate in larger numbers. The same is true, but to a lesser degree, for Inter-sorority Council members. In addition, we have learned that the earlier a student has learned about this practice, the more likely he or she will anticipate participating in it and then actually follow through in the fourth year. We have purposely avoided using the term, fourth-year fifth, in our communication with younger students. This may be important for you to know if you also have a first-, second- or third-year student at U.Va.
On a slightly different note, I want to make you aware of another message that I sent to all students yesterday. This message primarily speaks to concerns that have arisen in recent days over the way in which the University communicated about an attempted abduction that occurred in close proximity to the Grounds in the early hours of Friday, Nov. 9. Although University Police acted in a prescribed, customary manner, we recognize that improvements can be made in how we share such information with students and how we communicate about reports issued by the Charlottesville Police Department, which investigated the incident. I hope you will take a moment to read the message, which offers considerable more detail. Safety reminders included at the end reflect the common reminders that we often send students, but they are all the more important given the time of year and this evening’s game. Again, we ask for your help in reinforcing these safety messages.
In closing, looking ahead to May, I want to remind you that information about Finals Weekend is available online and is regularly updated with the most current details. Just this week, television personality Stephen Colbert was announced as the speaker for Valediction on Saturday, May 18. As you plan for this special weekend, please check the Finals website for complete details about events, parking, tickets, diploma ceremonies, and more.
Best wishes to you and your entire family for a joyful and restful Thanksgiving holiday.
Patricia M. Lampkin
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Last Modified: Thursday, 15-Nov-2012 16:39:01 EST
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