A message to students

Dear students,

Last week, we lost a member of the Carolina family—a promising young man whose life was needlessly cut short due to injuries sustained when a truck collided with his moped. The driver of the truck, a former Carolina student himself, had been drinking and has been charged with felony DUI.

Often, we speak to you about the dangers of high-risk behavior and high-risk activities like alcohol and drug use. Often, we speak those words in the abstract…not today. High risk behavior has resulted in the tragic death of one Gamecock and a life-altering scenario for another. Two families are irrevocably changed.

The poet John Donne’s line, “Any man’s death diminishes me,” surely reflects my sadness right now. And I find that I’m frustrated as well in knowing that this did not have to happen.

Often, we speak to you about the dangers of high-risk behavior and high-risk activities like alcohol and drug use. Often, we speak those words in the abstract…not today. High risk behavior has resulted in the tragic death of one Gamecock and a life-altering scenario for another. Two families are irrevocably changed.


So, I feel that I must ask you, once again, pledge to never drink and drive. Right now, make or renew your personal commitment to self-responsibility. Also, make a concentrated effort to look out for each other. We must also stop our friends from drinking and driving. We must recommit to the tenets of Stand Up Carolina — to be observant, to encourage friends to take safety precautions, to be ready to step in and speak up when something seems dangerous, wrong or illegal. As you become an active bystander, you will help make USC a safer environment for all those who live, work and study here.

For those of you who bicycle, ride a moped or a motorcycle, please, always wear a helmet. While many facts are still unclear in this case, there is overwhelming evidence that a helmet can save your life in the event of an accident.

On behalf of our Carolina Family, Patricia and I send our prayers to both families in hopes that they find solace in the days ahead.


— Harris Pastides