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Whittier College prez wants to lower legal drinking age

How_young_is_too_young Sharon D. Herzberger, the president of Whittier College, is one of 100 college leaders backing the Amethyst Initiative, launched last month to persuade lawmakers to lower the drinking age in the U.S. from 21 to 18.

Not only does the current law fail to protect young people from alcohol abuse, it creates a culture that encourages it, the group's mission statement says. Schools like Tufts, Smith, Dartmouth and Duke are among the high-profile signatories. Though the effort is barely a month old, opposition is already fierce, the Daily Breeze reports.

"This is a law that is routinely evaded," said John McCardell, former president of Middlebury College in Vermont who started the organization. "It is a law that the people at whom it is directed believe is unjust and unfair and discriminatory."

Other prominent schools in the group include Syracuse, Tufts, Colgate, Kenyon and Morehouse.   

But even before the presidents begin the public phase of their efforts, which may include publishing newspaper ads in the coming weeks, they are already facing sharp criticism.

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.

Look for the issue to make news as the group's ads hit print.

-- Veronique de Turenne

Comments () | Archives (27)

"It has become apparent repeatedly throughout history that governments CANNOT enforce regulation of social behaviors without wasting an unimaginable amount of resources. How's that abstinence-only sex education going? Oh right, people still have sex. How about the war on drugs? Yup, lots of people do drugs. Underage drinking? Same thing."

an absolutely brilliant statement. The teenage mind has always and will always place added value on things they are told are unattainable and against someone else's rules. By lowering the drinking age you'd allow young adults to discover for themselves the responsibility and reprocussions that come with alcohol. Once things are made easily available, most people lose interest. I am for the lowering of the drinking age.

So teenagers learning for themnselves is the way to go, especially in the case of doing things they are forbidden to do, why not: lower the age you can buy cigarettes, the age of consent (kids are having sex in middle and even elementary school now), the age of buying pornographic materials or going to strip clubs (nobody would get hurt with these two and theyre already viewing the material anyway), ban the movie and game ratings system (because they can still get their friends to buy em), and lower the age of being in the porno industry (hey theyre already having sex and you lowered the age of consent so you might as well do this one too.)??? I mean if you apply the same principles being mentioned above, this is perfectly sound logic.

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