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College Presidents Urge Debate of Drinking Age

Presidents from 100 colleges nation-wide are agitating for Congress to lower the legal drinking age to 18, saying the current law is not only ignored but leads to dangerous binge-drinking among college students. Well, sort of (not really). They all signed a petition by the Amethyst Initiative to start a debate on the issue, but close enough for jazz, right?

The Amethyst Initiative’s official statement is actually quite good. In it, the organization calls upon elected officials to:

  • Support an informed and dispassionate public debate over the effects of the 21 year-old drinking age.
  • Consider whether the 10% highway fund “incentive” encourages or inhibits that debate.
  • Invite new ideas about the best ways to prepare young adults to make responsible decisions about alcohol.

Can you guess what teetotaling organization is NOT happy about the news?

Mothers Against Drunk Driving says lowering the drinking age would lead to more fatal car crashes. It accuses the presidents of misrepresenting science and looking for an easy way out of an inconvenient problem. MADD officials are even urging parents to think carefully about the safety of colleges whose presidents have signed on.

“It’s very clear the 21-year-old drinking age will not be enforced at those campuses,” said Laura Dean-Mooney, national president of MADD.

Yes, of course, because admitting a law is flawed is the moral equivalent of breaking said law. Good call, MADD. Of course, this wouldn’t be the organization’s first foray into flights of hyperbole. MADD now occupies the same, rarified heights of fanaticism as PETA and those pro-life activists who set up “holocaust displays” on college campuses. For example, check out this classy move by MADD.

P.S. In case you wondering, Frohnmayer did not sign on.

  1. […] and it’s proposal to debate lowering the drinking age (which I previously wrote about here). It was bad, failing to produce any real argument or evidence for its claim, but one passage in […]

  2. Chris says:

    Apparently, the conversation is spreading…not to anyone meaningful, but it’s still interesting.

    I can tell you that on some military posts the commanding general makes the rule that you can drink at 18.

  3. Sean says:

    “By the way, there has been a movement to bring back the EMU drinking hole / Clancy Thurber

  4. Michelle Haley says:

    I don’t think a referendum will pass until Dusty retires. Don’t get me wrong, I will support it, but good luck.

  5. Chris says:

    Perhaps it is time for a referendum?

  6. Ossie says:

    Would students support a campaign to bring back the friday afternoon beer garden that used to exsist in the emu?


    why not harness the drinking power of students?

    Chris, that’s one of the more beautiful question I’ve ever heard.

    we had a drink-in last year, and the only thing we won for our civil disobedience was 10 hours of community service

    Still haven’t done my community service.

    Colleges do not want the lawsuits.

    I don’t know. Looking at the University’s track record, I think they might love lawsuits. But you’re right, the University doesn’t want responsibility. It pretends to care about curbing binge drinking by slapping down restrictions, but they could give a rat’s ass what happens to students, as long as they pay their dues. If the University cared, they’d encourage students to drink out in public where service is regulated and they are being watched, not in dorm rooms where girlies take down 8 shots in 10 minutes and stumble off to Theta Chi for roofie colaldas.

    By the way, there has been a movement to bring back the EMU drinking hole / Clancy Thurber’s, we’ve just been too drunk to accomplish anything.

  7. Chris says:

    Well if UO catering serves alcohol, which is true now that I remember throwing a lot of it back at the ol’ polecat’s house a year ago, I think there SHOULD be a movement to bring back the EMU drinking hole, same with the basement of the Collier House!

  8. Michelle Haley says:

    Marche is an outside vendor (they have another location in the 5th Market), but UO catering does serve alcohol, as well.

  9. Sakaki says:

    Uh…I believe Marche is under outside vendorship, and not U of O catering. At least, that’s what I was told when I was a member of the EMU Board a few years ago.

  10. Sam says:

    UofO catering serves alcohol, and they serve beer in marche in the art museum. Would students support a campaign to bring back the friday afternoon beer garden that used to exsist in the emu?

  11. Chris says:

    Easy. Privatize.

    Hell, even the Rec Center on the U of O campus is not considered a U of O entity. It’s a business that has the luxury (read: they pay money to the U of O to be there) of being in the middle of campus.

    Not sure how drastically liability would change if the drinking happened on campus legally or on campus illegally. Then, I’m not a law student either.

  12. Kevin says:

    Colleges do not want to be responsible for enforcing the law and do not want to be extra liable for under age drinkers overdosing/dying from alcohol.

    Colleges do not want the lawsuits.

  13. Sakaki says:

    Parents need to stop taking a puritanical attitude towards drinking and actually expose their kids to it, in the controlled environment of the home. When they get out into the post-high school world, they’ll be more responsible with it. And not be as “secretive and high strung” as a lot of them are.

  14. Bob Barr says:

    vote bob, I’ll smoke you out

  15. Sean says:

    A license? What, like a license to kill? Or do you mean *without* a license?

    Anyways, Euro cents are worth 1.6 USD cents, so thanks for your expensive contribution.

  16. Steven says:

    This works for the Germans:

    – drinking: legal at 16
    – driving a car: legal at 18

    So you have at least two years experience with boozing. Or more likely, 3-5 years when you start driving a car.

    And people don’t drive with a license here. It is not accepted, although it happens to very stupid individuals.

    My five Euro cent.

  17. Chris says:

    “If 21 year olds could drink and actually act like adults I could support lowering the age. But my issue isn

  18. Vincent says:

    That seems like a fair representation of Bob Barr’s platform.

  19. Bob Barr says:

    let’s get rid of regulations, I want to see 8 year olds drunk as shit

  20. Vincent says:

    How many plastered 22-year olds do casino security guards have to wheel to their rooms?

  21. Vegas boss says:

    If 21 year olds could drink and actually act like adults I could support lowering the age. But my issue isn’t drinking and driving but acting like idiots and being sloppy drunks. Casino security spends too much time wheeling idiots to their rooms in wheel chairs, and breaking up fights between 2 drunk clowns who accidentally brushed up against each other in passing and now try to flex their beer muscles. Each new generation of drinkers have less class and public displays of drunken stupidy are almost acceptable among their peers. The parents have never told their children no so it is impossible to reason with a drunk 21 year old so they get locked up for the weekend and can’t understand why!

  22. Timothy says:

    We need to form a new alliance:


    Drunks Against Matronly Nannies.

  23. Chris says:

    “Save for the

  24. CJ Ciaramella says:

    Sean, we had a drink-in last year, and the only thing we won for our civil disobedience was 10 hours of community service.

  25. Sean says:

    It only goes to prove that Malum prohibitum (as Mr. Drier would say) does not prevent the restricted behavior…it only sweeps it under the rug where it cannot be observed or influenced legitimately and positively.

  26. Betz says:

    MADD’s move at the high school seemed like a shrill, desperate attempt at a “shock-and-awe” campaign. When high school students actually DO die from driving under the influence (during my senior year, one such student did die from DUI, during the day, after getting high with his friends), NOBODY reports it in a manner such as the MADD demonstration was conducted. The worst part of this stunt was the implicit message conveyed by the police office, which one of the “Hit & Run” commentators picked up on: Its OK for Big Brother to lie to you, because its for your own good, and we know better. (Where is Orwel Duck when he’s needed?)

    I agree with Sean… I did most of my partying in high school (one of the benefits of having an older brother who is enrolled in college in the time), and felt pretty in-undated with drinking and all of its rituals when I moved into the dorms.

  27. Sean says:

    Maybe we should have a “Drink-In”.
    Anyways, MADD is the same as aforementioned PETA and other animal activists who protest a TV show displaying the slaughter of animals for meat because it is ‘inhumane’ or whatever. Not showing it just means that people don’t see. It doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen.
    And the less people see it, the less they are aware of it and the more disattached they are from it. Whether it’s how their meat gets to their dinner table or how their kids are doing in college.
    What Jagasia from Duke said is completely true…I was exposed to alcohol before I got to UO, by my parents, and when the frat boy down the hall asked me to go get WAAASTED with him, it didn’t really sound that cool.

  28. Vincent says:

    their kids will somehow morph into 24-hour binge drinking gateway drug using sex fiends who get STD

  29. Chris says:

    I get it.

    I mean, I don’t know what people are thinking other than that if this happens then their kids will somehow morph into 24-hour binge drinking gateway drug using sex fiends who get STD’s and drive drunk and die. Of course, that’s irrational. I thought it was stupid when the U of O went to being a ‘dry’ campus as well. Good move! Force kids who used to get caught hammered in their dorm rooms (I’m sure this still happens) to head elsewhere. Same for the Greek system. Hide the party or move it off campus, so that people drive to get there, get hammered and most likely, drive back home. Mostly a hollow rule, but still….why not harness the drinking power of students?

    I call for a massive drinking hall ‘brauhaus’ on campus where students can drink at 18 and the profits…oh crap, the profits would funnel into the ASUO huh. Ok, nix that idea. Well, maybe not.

  30. Vincent says:

    Yeah, MADD has long since morphed from a fairly laudable anti-drunk driving advocacy group into an incredibly shrill anti-alcohol organization. The PETA comparison is pretty apt.

  31. Ossie says:

    And, if Frohny doesn’t sign, I think he should have his “ol polecate of the year” taken away.

  32. Ossie says:

    MADD are a bunch of women who can’t understand normal thinking, if you catch my drift. Who won’t they just take their large donations from auto makers and cell phone companies and leave us drinkers alone already?

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