College presidents ask public to rethink drinking age

The Amethyst Initiative
Alarmed at undergraduate binge drinking and other illegal activities they say are related to a nationwide ban on under-21 alcoholic beverage consumption, more than 100 college presidents have signed a petition pleading for a dispassionate public debate on the issue.

The petition signers include presidents of Duke, Syracuse, Ohio State and Johns Hopkins universities as well as those at many small liberal arts colleges, some with Catholic and Protestant heritage.

Opposition arose quickly after the late-August announcement of the Amethyst Initiative, named after the purple gemstone that Greek mythology considered an antidote to the negative effects of intoxication. The petition does not explicitly advocate lowering the drinking age, though some backers think it should drop to 18, the minimum age for voting and serving in the military.

 

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