An Important Request

I am out this week recuperating from surgery, so I have pre-posed Daily Deacs to run in my absence. My colleagues will amend these pre-scheduled posts to include important information or breaking news. Editorial apologies for having had the date for Rosh Hashanah incorrect last Friday (we know it started Sunday evening; we only meant to send good wishes during the workweek and mistakenly erred about the start date). Also, kickoff for the Family Weekend game is 7:30 pm.

In order to keep your students and our campus safe, Wake Forest wants to be very clear in telling parents and families that they should not provide alcohol to underage students at Family Weekend, or any other time you visit campus. This is a violation of state law, punishable by fines and community service. But not providing alcohol is important for many other reasons, including risk, liability, safety, community, and more. 

Wake Forest students are living in community – sharing their physical living space, classrooms, and the larger campus. Living in community means everyone needs to follow the rules that have been set out for the good of the whole, because that’s what makes the community function in harmony. Some of the rules students must obey include the state law (you must be 21 to drink) and the Student Code of Conduct, which says underage students cannot drink alcohol.

If you provide alcohol to your underaged student, you and your student are risking the safety of our campus and other students. Once you leave campus, you have no control over how the alcohol will be consumed, with whom it will be shared, or what the consequences of use may be. The results could be devastating: misuse of alcohol leading to hospitalization for your student or another, lowered inhibitions and resulting poor decisions, loss of ability to consent to sexual activity, injury, or worse. Nationally, almost 700,000 college students between 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking (Higston, Heeren, Winter, 2005). Nearly 1,600 college students die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries each year (Hingson, Zha, Smyth, 2017). 

When families ignore the rules and provide alcohol to underage students, it can also unintentionally send the message to their students that they can ignore rules they don’t like, or that the rules don’t apply to me. The effect of that message can impact their time at Wake Forest in negative ways and could also impact the student’s willingness to follow the rules later in life – perhaps at a job where the stakes are high, or when they must make important ethical or legal decisions.

We all work together – parents and families, students, University Police, Residence Life and Housing, and many more – to keep campus safe. Please help us by not providing or purchasing alcohol for your underaged student at Family Weekend, or any other time you visit campus.

One other note about Family Weekend to be aware of: in past years, NC Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE) has been present at tailgates and have issued citations to students for underage consumption. In some families’ home states, the consumption of alcohol by a child, when the alcohol is provided by the parent, is allowed, but that is not the case in NC.

On behalf of Peter Rives, Assistant Director of Wellbeing – Substance Use; Jim Settle, Associate Dean of Students; Gia Rimi, Assistant Director of Residence Life, Residential Conduct; and me, we thank you in advance for your cooperation.

— by Betsy Chapman, Ph.D. (’92, MA ’94)

September 27, 2022


  • Hingson, R.; Zha, W.; and Smyth, D. Magnitude and trends in heavy episodic drinking, alcohol-impaired driving, and alcohol-related mortality and overdose hospitalizations among emerging adults of college ages 18–24 in the United States, 1998–2014. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs 78(4):540–548, 2017. PMID:28728636
  • Hingson, R.; Heeren, T.; Winter, M.; et al. Magnitude of alcohol-related mortality and morbidity among U.S. college students ages 18–24: Changes from 1998 to 2001. Annual Review of Public Health 26:259–279, 2005. PMID: 15760289

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