Message from the President on Safety

Dear Gamecock Students,

The events of last week were extremely difficult for our entire community. Mere words cannot match the depth of sorrow we feel or fill the sudden hole torn in our collective hearts.

Yesterday morning, Patricia and I met with Samantha Josephson's parents, sister, extended family and friends.

I can tell you that they are a strong family. In fact, Samantha's family would like you to know how much your thoughts and support have meant to them in recent days. They will continue to need your Gamecock spirit and support even from afar. It's this same spirit that will help them and all of us to heal in this difficult time.

While the family is strong, they are also crushed by this unimaginable loss. A tragedy like this shakes us to our very core but we must also consider what we can learn from it. I believe there is a lesson that we must learn that will honor Samantha's life, and keep us all safer.

In Samantha's memory, I ask you to embrace a new pledge...that you will NEVER use a ride share service without doing the following:

  1. Ensure the license plate, make, model and color of the vehicle match what's in your app and the driver matches the photo and name in the app; AND
  2. Ask the driver "WHAT'S MY NAME?" If s/he doesn't say your name, DO NOT get into the vehicle.

Also, please re-familiarize yourself with Uber rider safety tips.

Asking "WHAT'S MY NAME?" must become as automatic for you as putting on a seatbelt in your own vehicle.

Please promise that you will pledge to do this.

I am also making that pledge and one more. I pledge to work here at Carolina, as well as with colleges and public health authorities across the nation to promote awareness of this pledge and to educate college students everywhere about their safety.

As Mr. Josephson said at last evening's campus vigil, "Don't ever forget her name." We will not. Forever to thee, Samantha.

- Harris Pastides