UI sent letter about Unofficial to parents this week

UI sent letter about Unofficial to parents this week

URBANA — An annual letter warning of the upcoming "Unofficial St. Patrick's Day" event arrived in mailboxes of University of Illinois parents this week.

The campus sends the letters each year to inform parents of UI students about the annual drinking holiday and urging them to talk to their children about it. If students plan to patronize campus bars or private parties on March 2, the letter says, "please encourage mindfulness about personal and public safety."

"We are doing all we can to ensure that our students are safe, and we could use your help," says the letter, signed by Chancellor Robert Jones and Danita Brown Young, vice chancellor for student affairs.

The letter emphasizes that Unofficial isn't sanctioned by the UI "but promoted by local bar owners year after year. During this event, scores of young people receive notices to appear in court for alcohol violations and over the years, several participants have been seriously injured or died."

Last year, 23-year-old UI junior Jonathan Morales of Franklin Park died after accidentally falling off an apartment balcony.

The letter also outlines precautions taken by the campus and cities. Additional police officers will be on patrol, security staff will be stationed on and around campus, the city of Champaign has raised the bar-entry age for the day, and guests won't be allowed inside residence halls.

And it mentions the penalties for students who engage in public drunkenness, underage drinking and disruptive behavior in classrooms, emphasizing that under the state's "social host law," a person who hosts an event where underage drinking occurs doesn't have to be present to be held criminally responsible.

Last year, 114 citations were issued, most of them alcohol-related, the lowest in 10 years. Thirty people were treated at area hospitals for intoxication issues.

Campus spokeswoman Robin Kaler said the letter does get the attention of parents — and sometimes students. In past years, parents have called to say that they decided to make their child come home for the weekend, she said. And students have emailed saying "'Stay out of my business, my mom's making me go home this weekend,'" she said.

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GLG wrote on February 17, 2018 at 1:02 pm

Any mention in the letter that the students are at risk of being murdered, robbed at gunpoint, beaten, by roving gangs of thugs, Who if cuaght are slapped on the wrist and turend loose to do it again and again by SA Reitz?  The police do a great job of bringing this trash to justice only to have their hard work thrown in the trash by Reitz and Judge Difanis, Difanis used to be tough on crime when he was the States Attorney but he is getting soft in his old age, He needs to retire just like Reitz does!

787 wrote on February 17, 2018 at 3:02 pm

Parents are supposed to talk to their children about it?

I realize that a child will always be a child.... but these are young adults, not children.