Parents receive letter, talk to students about Unofficial

Some parents are lecturing their students about Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day after Chancellor Richard Herman sent a letter to the homes of all University undergraduate students last Friday.

This is the third year a letter about Unofficial has been sent out, said Robin Kaler, spokeswoman for the University.

“The Chancellor felt strongly that he should do everything possible to make sure students are safe,” she said. “One of the biggest influences on students is their parents.”

The point of the letter was to get parents to talk to their students and make them aware of the importance of making decisions that will keep them safe on the unofficial holiday.

“Talk to your child and make sure you’ve made clear that you want them to be careful and not put themselves in danger,” Kaler said.

One father, Bob Reilly of Homewood, Ill., said that he had spoken with his daughter about Unofficial, and there was an understanding that she was not interested in the event.

He said sending a letter is something the University is responsible for doing.

“Parents want to know what’s happening in general,” Reilly said. “I think it’s a good idea for the University to give parents a heads up before they see this thing on the news.”

However, other students have had less discussion with their parents about the upcoming event. Fernanda Mendes, a junior in Engineering said she opened the letter on her own, and does not know if her parents even saw it.

“I don’t think anyone takes it seriously,” Mendes said.

Marj Freese, of Washington, Ill., has one son at the University and another who graduated last year. She also said she has spoken with her son about Unofficial, and has made it clear that she does not consider the event acceptable for a college environment.

“The students are there for classes and drinking is a big distraction,” Freese said. “You’re at school to go to classes.”

Her son, Brian Freese, junior in AHS, said he got “the talk” from his mother last year and again this year.

“She called me about it and went over what the note entailed,” he said. “She explained it to me, and told me not to invite any of my friends from back home.”

He said his mom is not the only one who calls to discuss Unofficial with her child. Many of his friends’ parents call to remind their children to be safe and make good decisions on that day.

“I think it is a good way to go about the event,” Brian said. “It’s kind of a risk management.”

He is not yet sure what his plans are for March 6, but he said he will be sure to remember his mother’s advice.