This debate keeps going on and on: the issue of underage drinking, the risksâ€”and tragedies, even deathsâ€”associated with binging, and the role of the legal drinking age. Just in time for another season of frat parties and football games, the debate has rolled around again.
On the face of it, the notion seems counterintuitive, but to the presidents of some of the nationâ€™s most prestigious colleges, it makes a lot of sense: Lowering the legal drinking age might get students to drink less. . . .
As parents ship their children off to college this month, university officials are bracing for a round of alcohol-fueled parties and binge drinking. They say they have tried banning keggers and have promoted alcohol counseling, but problems persist. Itâ€™s time for a new approach, they say.
In addition to the Dickinson president, academic leaders involved in the effort include those of Duke University and Dartmouth College as well as several Washington area schools, such as the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University. Their effort, the Amethyst Initiative, proposes to reopen a national discussion on an issue that hasnâ€™t been seriously debated in three decades.
Amid the backlash, the 115 university leaders in the group said their proposal is being distorted. They said that they are not necessarily advocating that the age be lowered but that the issue needs to be part of the debate because alcohol abuse at colleges has gotten so bad.