Archive for October, 2009

PSU Daily Collegian: Amnesty Proposal a “Good Start”

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

On Wednesday, the editors of the Daily Collegian at Penn State University threw their support behind a proposal put forth by University Park Undergraduate Association leaders that calls for the implementation of a medical amnesty policy. After considering the recent death of Penn State student Joseph Dado, who passed away accidentally after a night of heavy drinking, the Collegian‘s editor’s wrote,

“It’s time now more than ever that efforts advance toward the adoption of a medical amnesty policy, at the very least…For even as UPUA works toward the adoption of the medical amnesty policy, students across campus are still in real danger of risking their health by drinking too much. And that’s not a problem that can be solved with one policy. Good start, UPUA; keep digging.”

What are your thoughts on this proposed change, which will need to be officially implemented by State College administrators before it can take effect? Let us know in the comments.

Roanoke Times on zero tolerance policies

Monday, October 5th, 2009

Over the weekend, Tonia Moxley took a snapshot of some zero tolerance policies at Virginia colleges in the Sunday edition of the Roanoke Times. Moxley noted that at some schools, such as Radford University, increased enforcement can have dangerous unintended consequences:

“On the second Friday of fall semester, the chase was on, as city police patrolled the streets and alleys on Radford University’s western flank, where the majority of off-campus housing — and partying — is clustered.

Along the way, officers wrote citations and made arrests for everything from littering to underage drinking.

Student drinking is banned in residence halls and at most university events. But just a short walk away, fraternities and sororities and other groups cram 100, 150 or more people into keg parties, many of them in basements with inadequate exits.”

According to her article, the off-campus parties occasionally grow so large that police officers can’t take the time to check IDs. It’s clear that young people are still drinking dangerously despite these increased enforcement efforts – as a Radford criminal justice professor put it, enforcement alone “is not enough.”

[CR] Week in Review

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

We hope you’ve had a chance to check out both sides of the drinking age debate brewing at and our response to the team of researchers who defended Legal Age 21 in their commentary. After they were posted, we heard from one parent who wrote to the researchers and told them he thinks 21 isn’t working: “My son will turn 21 in November of this year, so for him it will no longer be an issue, but, as my son stated to me for the past year, is he, or the other young adults that will turn 21, going to hit a magic button that will place maturity and responsibility into them like an injection into their arm? No.” If you’d like to send us your feedback, you can e-mail us or tell us your story and share it with the rest of the [CR] community. And if you want to catch up on other newsworthy items from this week, check out these headlines:

Stories this week:

A few weeks ago, Alan Greenblatt of Governing magazine interviewed [CR] President John McCardell for a cover story about the age of majority and the drinking age debate. After discussing some of the problems associated with the mixed messages we often send to young adults about alcohol, Greenblatt concluded,

“It would be useful, however, for states to think more broadly when it comes to the age of responsibility. States have been acting in ever-more-punitive ways toward teens. Yet the point of laws regulating the behavior of young people should not be to restrict them. It’s to begin educating them in the ways of responsible adulthood. What’s important, after all, is not passing a test or meeting an arbitrary age requirement, but learning lessons and applying them to real life.”

Check out Governing online to read the whole thing.

Amethyst Initiative signatory Georgia Nugent of Kenyon College has helped launch a new anti-binge drinking campaign that focuses on journal writing as a method of individual counseling. Read Mark Jordan’s Wednesday article in the Mount Vernon News for more information.

October 15 will be a busy day for [CR] representatives. President John McCardell will be at Texas Tech University debating William DeJong of the Boston University School of Public Health, and Board Member Barry Seaman will visit Bridgewater College in Virginia to debate James Fell of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation. Check the Texas Tech calendar and the Staunton News Leader for details if you’re interested in attending either of these events.

In other news…

Tanya Mohn, a contributor to the New York Times’ “Wheels” blog, published a post on Tuesday about the growing popularity of ignition interlock technology to combat drunk driving. Currently, there are several different technological approaches being developed, and one program manager said that new devices that perform skin and air analysis could be vehicle-ready “within 10 years.”

Alcohol-related violations at Northern Arizona University have shot upward since 2006 – according to Larry Hendricks of the Arizona Daily Star, campus administrators dealt with 200 more violations in 2008 than they did in 2007.

We came across several columns in student newspapers this week that supported the drinking age debate – you can browse the articles in the UConn Daily Campus, Inside Vandy, Northern Michigan’s North Wind, and the Fairfield Mirror at Fairfield University. If you’re a college student and you’d like to get a sense of what your colleagues are saying about the drinking age, these columns serve as a good primer.

Did you find another article in your college or local newspaper that we missed? Send us a link in the comments section.