Leadership Changes at Choose Responsibility

Dr. John McCardell, the founder and President of Choose Responsibility and a national advocate for the drinking age debate, will step down as President of the organization effective June 30, 2010 to take on the role of 16th Vice Chancellor and President of Sewanee: The University of the South. Barrett Seaman, a founding member of Choose Responsibility’s Board of Directors, will replace Dr. McCardell as President on July 1.

Since founding Choose Responsibility three years ago, Dr. McCardell has helped bring the issues of binge and underage drinking to national prominence with appearances on CBS’ 60 Minutes, Comedy Central’s Colbert Report, and hundreds of radio, television, and print outlets across the country. In August 2008 he helped launch the Amethyst Initiative, a declaration signed by 135 college and university presidents calling for an open debate about the effectiveness of Legal Age 21 in higher education. Though he will be stepping down as President, Dr. McCardell will remain an active voice in the national debate and will maintain a leadership role in expanding the reach of the Amethyst Initiative.

“I am excited about this presidency and the opportunities it represents,” said Dr. McCardell.  “Among those is the credibility that comes from speaking about this important issue on the basis of first-hand experience.  I intend to continue to be an active participant in the discussion about alcohol and its place in the lives of young adults, and to mobilize the resources and influence of the higher education community to insist that our elected representatives have the freedom to debate the effectiveness of current laws unimpeded by the threat of federal highway withholding.  We cannot continue to debate the problems of 2010 with the language and the assumptions of 1984.  New occasions teach new duties.  I am confident that Choose Responsibility will continue to be a forceful, articulate, and reasoned voice in the ongoing public debate.”

Mr. Seaman is the author of Binge: Campus Life in an Age of Disconnection and Excess. Published in 2005 by Wiley, the book is widely considered a must-read for the parents of every college-bound student. Choosing 12 colleges, including Harvard, Berkeley, Duke and Stanford, Seaman spent two years living at colleges and investigating campus life. A graduate and a charter trustee of Hamilton College, Seaman is a former Time magazine correspondent and editor. His August 2005 piece in Time titled, “How Bingeing Became the New College Sport” served as a wakeup call to parents across the country, and his appearances in debates and on television, including The Today Show and The Dr. Phil Show, have helped bring the issue of toxic drinking to an even wider audience.

“It is a challenge to take up the mantle John leaves as he returns to the academic world,” said Seaman. “But Choose Responsibility has a great board, a great staff and a lot of momentum as it carries this cause into a new decade.”

5 Responses to “Leadership Changes at Choose Responsibility”

  1. Edwin Says:

    The drinking age must be lowered to 18 along with alcohol education and licensing. Barrett Seaman will be a good President for Choose Responsibility to expand attention of the ageist drinking age so that a much better solution will be implemented. John McCardell has been a good President for the organization because he was interviewed on the Colbert Report and on 60 Minutes. There’s a correlation between sports of university and yong adults and it’s good that Mr. Seaman has been on the Dr. Phil Show.

  2. Carol Says:

    Have you considered what will happen if the drinking age were lowered? Injuries and fatalities for drinking and driving crashes for teens would increase as well as access to alcohol for younger teens and middle school aged children. The risks–poor academic performance, increased fighting and violence, unwanted and/or unprotected sex. Also, children who begin drinking at 14 years old and under are FIVE TIMES MORE LIKELY TO BECOME ALCOHOL DEPENDENT than if they began drinking at age 21. Why would we want to risk these potential harms to our children–our future?!

  3. Ajax the Great Says:

    With all due respect, Carol, it looks like you came to the wrong website.

    There is no hard empirical evidence that 14 year olds will drink more if the drinking age is 18 versus 21. It would be just as illegal either way. Plus, the annual Monitoring the Future survey finds, year after year, that both 8th and 10th graders currently find alcohol easier to get than cigarettes. And cigarettes have an age limit of 18 in nearly all states, often poorly enforced.

    Plus, if the drinking age was 18, more resources would be freed up for keeping booze out of the hands of 14 year olds instead of wasting time chasing 18-20 year olds around.

    You have been listening to too much MADD propaganda. Have you even read the FAQ’a on this website?

    I suggest you also check out my (unaffiliated with CR) website as well, Twenty-One Debunked.


  4. [CR] Week in Review | Top Legal News Says:

    […] at Choose Responsibility. Dr. John McCardell, [CR]’s founder and President, announced that he will step down on June 30 to take the role of 16th Vice President and Chancellor at Sewanee: The University of the South. Dr. […]

  5. George Says:

    Carol, I remember back when Colorado changed the law that friends in law enforcement all predicted that teenage drink driving problems would multiply astronomically. Their reasoning was that kids would drink anyway, but would do it out of sight in the boonies, then drive back home drunk, whereas, before the change, they were drinking in .32 bars, in a controlled environment, and not having to “finish the bottle” to hide the evidence. The truth of this theory has been borne out by real-world events ever since – not to mention the by the number of broken bottles alongside county roads! Also the number of alcohol poisoning deaths because kids are reluctant to get help for their drunk friends in case they get busted for underage drinking.