Once, a long time ago, I think I was right
August 19, 2008
When I was an 18 year old college student writing for the campus paper, the federal government bullied all the states into making 21 the legal drinking age. It went something like this: Do what we say, or we will take away your federal highway funds. We all know who won that power play.
Impassioned as I was by this new legislation, I used my weekly column as a venue to voice my incredulity. Now, for the record, I remember very little of what I wrote for the Tacoma Community College paper. Most of it was, I am sure, drivel. But I remember the closing line from this particular column.
Raising the drinking age to 21 does not keep 19 year olds from drinking. It just takes them out of the bars and makes them criminals.
Now, a group of college presidents has gone on record saying the current legal age does more harm than good.
Top university officials in Maryland – including the chancellor of the state university system and the president of the Johns Hopkins University – say the current drinking age of 21 “is not working” and has led to dangerous binges in which students have harmed themselves and others.
Six college presidents in Maryland are among more than 100 college and university presidents nationwide who have signed a statement calling for a public debate on rethinking the drinking age.
“Kids are going to drink whether it’s legal or illegal,” said Johns Hopkins President William R. Brody, who supports lowering the drinking age to 18. “We’d at least be able to have a more open dialogue with students about drinking as opposed to this sham where people don’t want to talk about it because it’s a violation of the law.”
The presidents of the University of Maryland, College Park; Towson University; the College of Notre Dame of Maryland; Goucher College; Washington College and the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute signed the statement, along with the presidents of Duke, Dartmouth and Ohio State University.
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