Recent Commentary in Memphis

Cheers to the Memphis Commercial Appeal for its thorough treatment of the drinking age debate this past Sunday, May 31. The paper took an editorial position in support of an open, honest debate around the 21 year-old drinking age that looks at all the effects of the law, especially those beyond the highways. Their stance is taken a step further in Jerome Wright’s issue analysis with comments from John McCardell and Amethyst Initiative signatory presidents Stephen Jordan and George Dennison (University of Montana-Missoula). Dr. Jordan, currently president of Metropolitan State College of Denver, stated that, “My concern and that of many of the other presidents who signed the initiative is that we aren’t doing our students a favor by avoiding [the binge drinking problem]. Saying that keeping the minimum age at 21 is reducing highway deaths is ignoring the bigger problem.”

2 Responses to “Recent Commentary in Memphis”

  1. Edwin Says:

    The drinking age must be lowered to 18 along with an alcohol education program. In addition, it’s good that the Memphis Commercial Appeal is supporting an honest debate surrounding the ageist drinking. The ageist drinking disrespects the age of majority and encourages alcohol abuse because those aged 18-20 don’t receive an alcohol education program which would foster alcohol responsibility. Dr. Jordan is very correct in his last statement. Don’t forget to comment on the blog.

  2. Vanessa Says:

    UW-Stout Chancellors memo regarding Drinking at and around campus.

    student video:

    DATE: March 30, 2010
    RE: Steps to Curb Student Alcohol Abuse
    It has become evident to me that strong and decisive steps are necessary to address a serious situation on our campus affecting the lives, safety, health and well being of our students and the community – the high-risk abuse of alcohol by too many of our students.
    In the past two years, our campus has dealt with the tragic deaths of six students directly related to the use of alcohol. We also have seen other effects of alcohol abuse by our students, including serious injuries to themselves or others (including suicide); sexual assault; careless use of smoking materials resulting in fire; drunken driving; and felony criminal charges.
    Therefore, I have decided that the following steps will be taken in an attempt to help curb this excessive abuse of alcohol:
    • We will schedule a full complement of classes on Fridays, beginning with the 2010-11 academic year. National research has shown that students who have Friday classes tend to drink less on Thursday nights than those who don’t. I have begun discussions with the Faculty Senate and Senate of Academic Staff in this regard, and Provost Julie Furst-Bowe is working with our deans and department chairs to add to our Friday class schedules.
    • The Dean of Students office consistently will take strong disciplinary measures—including suspension from the university—for a variety of alcohol-related activities. These infractions include underage drinking citations (based on frequency and blood-alcohol content); using fake identification; furnishing and/or selling alcohol to minors; hosting house parties; committing vandalism or other property damage; harming oneself or others; and other alcohol-related violations.
    Furthermore, I will ask the Chancellor’s Coalition on Alcohol and Drugs to work with city officials and other community partners on initiatives to curb the availability of alcohol to large groups of mainly underage students. These initiatives include finding more resources to crack down on the hosts and attendees of large house parties, holding landlords accountable if their renters hold these large parties and requiring keg registration and outlawing drink specials.
    I firmly believe that we have a moral and an ethical obligation to pursue all reasonable avenues to address alcohol abuse by our students. Many of our students do make responsible choices regarding the use of alcohol, which our Smart+Healthy social norms campaign encourages. But too many of our students die, suffer serious injury or experience consequences that will forever affect their lives and the lives of others—all because of alcohol abuse.
    I am asking the entire UW-Stout community to join with me in reducing high-risk drinking that is ruining the bright futures of too many of our students.