College presidents from over 100 American universities have signed a petition urging a revision of the drinking age from 21 to 18, in response to many recent studies which suggest that barring legal alcohol access to college-age students actually fuels on-campus binge drinking.
The statement the presidents have signed avoids calling explicitly for a younger drinking age. Rather, it seeks “an informed and dispassionate debate” over the issue and the federal highway law that made 21 the de facto national drinking age by denying money to any state that bucks the trend.
But the statement makes clear the signers think the current law isn’t working, citing a “culture of dangerous, clandestine binge-drinking,” and noting that while adults under 21 can vote and enlist in the military, they “are told they are not mature enough to have a beer.” Furthermore, “by choosing to use fake IDs, students make ethical compromises that erode respect for the law.”
The petition includes the presidents of such notable schools as Dartmouth, Duke, Johns Hopkins, Tufts, and Middlebury. So far Wesleyan hasn’t signed, but Michael Roth seems to be a fan of good ideas.
Check out Professor Claire Potter’s excellent post on why civilized (legal) collegiate drinking is greatly preferable to the currently prevalent, potentially brain-damaging boozemania.
Amethyst Initiative: Mission Statement – Rethink Drinking Age
CNN.com: College chiefs urge new debate on drinking age
Tenured Radical: Make Mine a Double, Please