[CR] announces Amethyst Initiative

We are pleased to announce Choose Responsibility’s newest project, the Amethyst Initiative. For the last few months, we have been working quietly with a group of college presidents to produce a statement on Legal Age 21 and to reach out to colleges and universities across the nation who feel similarly. As of today, we have a growing list of over 100 college and university presidents who have signed a statement that declares 21 is not working and calls on elected officials to support open debate, re-consider the 10% highway fund “incentive” that has kept the drinking age at 21 in every state, and to discuss new ideas about the best ways to prepare young adults to make responsible decisions about alcohol use.

This effort was made public to the press by an outside source late last week and was covered Monday in an Associated Press story that will likely be featured in your local paper on Tuesday. Please share the story with your friends, colleagues, and classmates. Check out the list of signatories—is your alma mater listed there? If not, we hope you will consider writing to your president and asking him or her to consider joining the Amethyst Initiative.

We encourage you to follow this developing story and keep posted for updates.

26 Responses to “[CR] announces Amethyst Initiative”

  1. Linda Cicero Says:

    I applaud your efforts. As a parent of two college students I have first hand experience that the drinking age of 21 is not working. Too many parents look the other way and too many kids are not responsible due to “sneaking” I say we lower the drinking age and hold the kids accountable to stick to it and drink responsibly. I would like to add that I think it should be lowered to only 19. Too many kids are 18 as seniors in High School and I don’t think there should be any legal drinking in high school.

  2. Bonnie Scott Says:

    I have two children in college and agree the current drinking is not working. Binge drinking has become the norm as a result of the unrealistic drinking age of 21. I have been discussing this with friends for several years and am so happy that those in the position to initiate change are doing so!

  3. Marshall Guthrie Says:

    I have written letters inviting the Presidents of The University of Iowa, The University of Central Missouri, Roger Williams University, and Bard College to pledge their support as well. I plan follow up in a few weeks if I haven’t heard anything. Will the list of supporters on the web page be updated frequently?


    Marshall Guthrie
    Bard College

  4. Phillip Myatt Says:

    Where can I find a list of universities in support.

  5. Rob O'Hannon Says:

    If we lower the drinking age to 18 because 19 and 18 year olds are drinking, what do we do when 17 and 16 year olds, now closer to the legal drinking age, start to drink more? Do we lower the age again?

    If there’s binge drinking on college campuses it’s not because of a law limiting the drinking age to 21 and above, it’s because there is a culture that encourages that type of behavior. Unless you’re willing to change the culture, and the society that promotes that culture, your only moving the problem down yet another level.

  6. Jon van Poppel Says:

    For the United States, it’s more appropriate to consider a 19 y.o. drinking age. It’s just not like in Europe where kids don’t drive cars until they’re 18. An 18 y.o. drinking age would overlap too much with car-driving high schoolers. At least, when in college, 19 y.o. kids are then in a more pedestrian community. And for the 19 y.o. kids that don’t go to college, it’s the “no drinking and driving” like for anyone else (law enforcement issue). I’m 42 y.o. with children,and I am a firm proponent for lowering the drinking age down to 19.

  7. Nancy Becker Says:

    Great piece on ATC tonight, and a super front page story in the Oregonian today. My son turns 21 today, so this is an odd coincidence. He went to a bar last night after midnight and they didn’t even card him- boy was he bummed!
    Dont worry, I have another son ( 17) that I am still dealing with…. I am planning to go to the annual scare tactic parent meeting again this year and speak up- any materials you can send me would be appreciated…
    keep up the great work!

  8. Michael Burmeister Says:

    I agree with Marshal Guthrie’s last statement. I’ve emailed the presidents of Georgia State University, University of West Georgia, and Georgia Tech.

    And remember, MADD is telling its readers to send emails of the presidents currently on the list and demand they remove their names. All this would accomplish is pressuring someone out of their decision. I plan on emailing as many signatories as I can and briefly give them my support. Even leaders need reassurance once in awhile.

  9. Skyler Kehren Says:

    Email is quick and convenient but I would also strongly suggest writing letters and using snail mail. I think it could be much more effective.

    I think future efforts of the Amethyst Initiative will work wonders on reopening the debate.

  10. Edwin Says:

    The drinking age must be 18, but in a way to comprise, they should also be high school graduates, FIGHT MADD!!!!!!

  11. David Platt Says:

    I read about your organization and initiative in today’s Wall Street Journal, and I am appalled by colleges that have signed-on to this initiative! Colleges today have chosen to shirk their responsibility to establish rules, and enforce those rules. Most, if not all, have some rules and regulations, and most wink at those rules and regulations…particularly when it comes to fraternaties and sororities. Read the Journal article about URI’s response and serious efforts to make a change…for the betterment of their students!

  12. Tom Says:

    I am so happy that these presidents are speaking out, especially on such a sensitive topic. I am a parent of a 13 and 10 year old and I don’t want to see them drinking the way I see college kids are drinking. They travel to Europe every summer and – thankfully – get to see responsible adults and young adults drinking (not shots of vodka, but beer and wine) together. But here the young and the adults don’t mix and the young aren’t learning responsible drinking. And I’m very disappointed in MADD, whose tactics remind me of the NRA or PETA, in trying to squelch the debate instead of participating in it. They’re ripping pages out of Bush’s textbook and implying that these presidents are irresponsible and not upholding the law. Haven’t they heard of free speach? Can’t we have a debate about this? We don’t live in a communist country, where a subject cannot be talked about. And shouldn’t MADD be using today’s gas prices as a way to start encouraging public transportation and high-density housing, so we can get people who drink out of their cars. And, finally, why is it that they don’t take licenses away from drunk drivers? Why can drunk drivers still get insurance? I was hit by a 52 year old drunk driver who had a long history of DUIs and he STILL had a license AND insurance. Where are you on that MADD???

  13. grace Says:

    Full list of signatories here: http://www.amethystinitiative.org/

    Current count: 129 and climbing!

  14. Andy Says:

    Hey Tom – Don’t blame MADD for convicted drunk drivers who are still on the road. The blame is on the judicial system who continually try to reform these “misguided” individuals and give them sentences that turn them back out on the road quickly.
    To all the people that support the idea of lowering the drinking age: be proud of yourselves when you create more alcoholics and alcohol related traffic fatalities. You will have blood on your hands and there will be no debate about that!

  15. Karen Says:

    When I was young, the drinking age in NY was 18. It was slowly raised to 21 with my younger sister. Gradually, alcohol became a taboo; the “cool” thing teens now want to get into do.
    When I was young it was “cool” to smoke cigarettes and perhaps pot. I needn’t point out that one can’t die from a cigarette binge. And one doesn’t potentially kill other people with cigarette use while driving.
    Kids now drive to fields to get drunk with their friends – because it’s illegal to allow minors (that are not your children) to drink in your home. And they always binge, because this might be their last chance to drink. Their fake IDs might be taken. Or they might get caught. Or arrested.
    My kids have all obtained fake IDs. As did most of their friends, and other teenagers I know. Our kids disobey the drinking laws at these young ages, which is depressing. Because they think the age limit is stupid, they disobey it. Laws should be just. I’m glad that “drinking and driving” is finally getting attention it deserves. But if someone is 18 – an ADULT – they need to know they will be held accountable for their decisions. And be given the opportunity to live as they see fit. Including the ability to decide whether they want a glass of wine at their wedding.

  16. Debra Says:

    Here is a novel concept: why not teach our children to drink before handing them the keys to moving masses of metal? How about taking a look at drunk driving and other alcohol-related incidences in countries where the drinking age is lower (e.g. 16) and the driving age higher (e.g. 18) and comparing that to what is found here? Why not teach our children how to drink, when to drink, and what ‘excess’ means instead of assuming they will automatically follow some rule set for them by bureaucrats who will never again be 18? As a college instructor, I see the effects of young people who lack this training every semester. It needs to change!

  17. Dave Says:

    Unfortunately, I think that MADD’s tactics will be frighteningly successful in scaring away most college presidents from joining the initiative. After reading the words, “Do not send you children to the colleges which support this”…from an organization with as much national pull as MADD, why would any of them want to risk putting their school’s reputation on the line?

    What needs to happen is student organizations need to spring up which show support for their university presidents backing debate. The presidents have to be shown they are not alone.

    Also, if you read closely, you can see that the initiative supports lowering the drinking age to 18 with the stipulation that that person has a high school diploma. This would be identified on a driver’s license. It seems that just about every media outlet throughout the country has disregarded this fact so they can use the, “but 16 and 17 year olds will drink more” excuse. They also have disregarded the fact that the initiative simply calls for debate. It is sickening to watch the extent that most news sources have completely disregarded the facts of the story so they can run wild bashing these presidents. Real facts need to be disseminated to the public.

  18. Barb Says:

    I applaud all the presidents who have participated in the Amethyst Initiative and am proud to say that my freshman son attends one the universities listed on it. Educating our young adults to drink responsibly rather than in hiding is a more appropriate than saying you’re 21 have at it. I don’t think that raising the drinking age to 21 helped to lower traffic related fatalities – I think stricter laws, designated drivers and education helped to lower those rates. If my children can go fight a war, sign a legally binding contract or get married you better believe they should have the right to have a beer.

  19. aimee Says:

    How do they propose to ‘stick to’ or enforce a lower drinking age, if the current legal age of 21 is not enforced or followed now?

  20. Jason Says:

    The major stone on the road is still MLDA21 Act of 1984.Unless this act gets repealed first,MLDA 21 will stay and stay dispite by fact it saved many deaths rather than lives and despite of step by step changings of public opinions.Only after this Federal Act gets repealed,the MLDA18 debates,states’proposals to replace 21 will gain possibility.
    I am myself ex-diehard pro-21 supporter.

  21. Sandra Says:

    I think that if you can sign up to fight for your country in a war at 18, then you should be able to choose to pick up a beer and drink. How come there is a double standard? You are grown and a man/woman when you sign up for the armed forces but you are a “child” when it comes to being able to drink at 18. This is ridiculous! Perhaps if we let our youth drink at an earlier age then drinking itself won’t be a novelty and the binge drinking would decrease…

  22. Robert Mudd Says:

    I view this initiative as a cop-out by college administrators who do not have the courage to enforce a the 21 law for fear of upsetting their “customers.” If these so-called educators really cared about young people, they might be asking why the minimum age for serving (and dying) in the military isn’t raised to 21, instead of why the drinking age isn’t lowered to 18.

  23. chris Says:

    Bravo and long overdue.

  24. Daniel Says:

    Underage drinking is nothing new. To anyone. There are too many responsibilities that an “adult” must handle when they are 18. It is a huge problem that every high school and college student is looking forward to taking 21 shots on their 21st birthday. On another note, 18 year old are able to legally serve alcohol in restaurants and bars. The drinking age basically hands young adults a drink, and says, “Hold onto that for a few years. Then you can have some.”

    I am glad that prominent and influential people in these institutions are being proactive in solving the problem that has become a national issue over the last decade.

  25. Corey Says:

    Lets deal with people like individuals and deal with actions alone and not treat people like “one sizefits all” and probabilities and propensities! NYU and Sarah Lawrence colleges should join you guys and also Emma Roberts might go to one of those colleges! Lets decriminalize underage drinking once and for all since this is the land of the free.

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