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Hungover? Two Withdraw From Petition to Lower Drinking Age

Pressure from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, safety experts, and politicians has sobered up two college presidents who originally attached their names to a petition to lower the drinking age. In the meantime, 15 other presidents added their names.

Kendall Blanchard, the president of Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus, and Robert M. Franklin, the president of Morehouse College in Atlanta, removed their names from the list of 123 presidents in favor of lowering the drinking age to 18. Blanchard said, “It was clear to me that they didn’t see this as a dialogue; they saw this as some kind of effort on our part to turn our schools into party schools.”

Leaders from schools including Dartmouth, Duke, and Tufts argue that the legal age of 21 brews a binge-drinking culture and is disrespect of the law. Students feel the need to use fake IDs, and drink the forbidden appletini in secret. To see what the other side has to say,


Those in favor of 21 point out that a higher drinking age has had positive results, including a reduction in alcohol-related traffic deaths among young drivers. Perhaps a new law could lower the drinking age, but keep a zero-tolerance policy for younger drivers: if they've had even one drink and then drive, they've broken the law.

While both sides of the age debate have compelling arguments, it would be a shame if a discussion got shut down before it started. Would college students be more responsible if we stop treating them like they're irresponsible?


Join The Conversation
CoralAmber CoralAmber 8 years
I've lived in both here in the US and in the UK where the drinking age is 18. Although we have underage drinking here in the US, it's really epidemic in Britain. With the lower drinking age the kids start drinking way earlier, between 10 and 12. A British friend of mine used to sneak out and drink at boarding school, and his first time he overdid it so badly he had to call his father, who was a doctor, to come give him a shot. It didn't even occur to him that it could be bad because everyone did it.
kastarte2 kastarte2 8 years
I agree with Mich and Torg on this one. BTW I was friends with a couple of guys who enlisted right out of high school and they were a couple idiots. Not at all the definition of "mature." In fact, I seem to remember one of them more than once saying that he wanted to join so that he could "Blow $h!t up."
georgie2 georgie2 8 years
As an outsider, the 21 thing seems just stupid. I'm sorry I couldn't be more articulate about it.
organicsugr organicsugr 8 years
Michelin, I think what you don't understand is that drinking is the most important decision that a person can make. It is more dangerous than wielding a four thousand pound hunk of iron down the highway at 70mph. And it is more important than choosing a leader for the free world. Finally, it is more important (and warrants more maturity) than giving your life occupying a foreign country. The specific gravity of alcohol, in particular, (any other brewers here?) is very, very heavy.
Michelann Michelann 8 years
I know a lot of 18-20 year olds who enlisted. As much as I appreciate their friendship and respect their service, they are less mature than most of the other people I know. They tried to go to college and didn't have the discipline to go to class. One of them brags that he drank and partied for two weeks straight. Didn't go to class once. Real mature. They weren't mature enough to make their own decisions and run their own lives, so they go to the military for structure and discipline. I'll agree that most 18-20 year olds don't vote. But I do. And I take the responsibility very seriously. "Because most aren't mature enough to handle the responsibility, no one should be given the privilege." Most people can't handle the responsibility of being married. Maybe none of them should be given the privilege. A lot of people can't handle the responsibility of getting a mortgage on their home, should we take away their right to do so? In a free country, you don't take away a group's rights just because a few can't handle it.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
Hypno made the argument. I used murder for shock value. The concept is the same. You don't remove a law just because it doesn't stop someone who is intent on breaking that law. Because we have a volunteer army, the 18-20yr olds who enlist are generaly more mature than their counterparts. They also grow up a lot in basic training. The majority of 18-20yr olds also do not vote, for whatever reason. Those that do vote are probably more mature than the ones who don't. Because most aren't mature enough to handle the responsibility, no one should be given the privilege.
Michelann Michelann 8 years
I never made the argument that "The law isn't stopping it so it shouldn't be the law". I simply pointed out that your counter argument was not sound. If you don't believe 18, 19, 20 year olds are old enough to make mature decisions, why do you believe they're old enough to go to war, go to prison, and vote?
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
No, I'm just accepting the fact that as I dispell one argument ("The law isn't stopping anyone from doing it, so we should lower the age."), I get bombarded by others that are just as bereft of any substance. Torg - If you drink in HS, eventually something is going to happen. Also, not everyone drinks in high school, the ones that don't are the only ones I would say could handle the responsibility.
Michelann Michelann 8 years
Torg, yes. I would say the majority of high school students have tried drinking. Certainly the vast majority of college students.
True-Song True-Song 8 years
Hmm, this would normally be the part where people post the drinking cartoons, right? I can't decide if that would be inappropriate or right on the nose. Is everyone here 21? We see statistics about underage drinking gone wrong, but about it gone right? don't most people drink in high school or college, to no disastrous consequences?
Michelann Michelann 8 years
That's pretty condescending, UnDave. Sounds like somebody is throwing a temper tantrum because they can't have a logical argument with a "big girl".
True-Song True-Song 8 years
Maybe if you don't get a GED or diploma, you can start drinking at 21? I don't know.
organicsugr organicsugr 8 years
Torg, there is no right to drink or right to drive. These are privileges that are given to us by a compassionate government. As such, they must be strictly regulated so that we may be prevented from victimizing ourselves.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
I'm done here. You don't understand, and never will. 18, 19, and 20 yr olds aren't adult enough to make mature decisions. A look around ANY high school or college campus shows that. I understand that from your perspective, I'm wrong, but my 4yr old thinks she's a big girl now. Just because you think you are, doesn't make it true.
Michelann Michelann 8 years
Torg, that's a good point. However, what about people who don't get a GED or diploma? They still need to drive in order to get a job and survive in this world. Maybe you mean just the age? In a related note, there are a lot of good arguments for raising the driving age. Of course, I think the requirements for driving need to be a lot stricter.
True-Song True-Song 8 years
I always thought the right to drink and the right to drive (not at the same time...) should come with a high school diploma or GED.
organicsugr organicsugr 8 years
UnDave is right. We can't have people victimizing themselves in a free country. Some use the term nannystate in a perjorative manner, but I don't think that's fair. I think that UnDave is correct in his belief that the federal government needs to parent adults a little too.
Michelann Michelann 8 years
Murder is against the law because the act interferes with another person's right to live. An adult drinking doesn't interfere with anybody's right to do anything. Therefore it is victimless. Even if I agreed to your nonsensical definition of "victim", since when is it okay for the government to protect an adult from themselves? If you don't think 18 year olds are old enough to be considered adult, then that's another issue. Perhaps we should take away 18 year olds rights to vote, join the military, sign a legal contract, etc. and give them back when you think they're also responsible enough to drink. Perhaps 19 would be a good age? That way, there will be no legally drinking adults still in high school.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
No, but the law doesn't stop people from murdering, so why have it. Michelin - underage drinking has a victim, the person drinking.
Michelann Michelann 8 years
Torg, that's a good point. Furthermore, drinking is a self-regarding decision. Murder is not. Doesn't the term "victimless crime" mean anything to you?
True-Song True-Song 8 years
>"I think it should be lowered because the law does not stop those who are intent on drinking" >So, let's make murder legal because the law won't stop those who are intent on killing someone. Same concept. Doesn't make any sense either. But we don't let people murder once they reach a certain age. We don't have a concept of "responsible murdering" or "murdering in moderation."
stephley stephley 8 years
The voting age was lowered to 18 in part to respond to the 'we can fight but we can't vote' argument. Voting and military service are more equal responsibilities.
L0neLyHeArT L0neLyHeArT 8 years
I agree with user frogandprince about lowering the drinking age. If young people can registered to enroll in the military, then why shouldn't they be able to drink?
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
They are both crimes mich. If we can change one because the law won't stop people, then that reasoning can be used for any other law. Why not get rid of speed limits, because "no one" follows them anyway? It is a bad idea to change a law, just because it's inconvenient.
Meike Meike 8 years
I agree completely with Tsukata. American culture needs to change along with lowering the drinking age. In Italy, Germany, France, and the Netherlands, wine is serve with a meal to people as young as 16. Alcohol is not regarded as a 'forbidden fruit'. Thus, binge drinking is rather unheard of, save for Munich's annual event, Oktoberfest.
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