College students, most of whom are over the age of 18, can vote, enlist in the military and yet are not considered mature enough to sit down at their local bar and have a beer.
All that may change very soon as, “College presidents from about 100 of the nation’s best-known universities, including Duke, Dartmouth and Ohio State, are calling on lawmakers to consider lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18, saying current laws actually encourage dangerous binge drinking on campus,” says the Associated Press.
The Amethyst Initiative, started by former president of Middlebury University John McCardell, “is made up of chancellors and presidents of universities and colleges across the United States. These higher education leaders have signed their names to a public statement that the 21 year-old drinking age is not working, and, specifically, that it has created a culture of dangerous binge drinking on their campuses.” [See COED’s article Vermont To Reconsider Drinking Age from 3/25/08].
Research by Mothers Against Drunk Driving found that, “40 percent of college students reported at least one symptom of alcohol abuse or dependence. One study has estimated more than 500,000 full-time students at four-year colleges suffer injuries each year related in some way to drinking, and about 1,700 die in such accidents.”
And with those statistics in mind it is Moana Jagasia, a Duke University sophomore from Singapore, who says it best.
“There isn’t that much difference in maturity between 21 and 18,” she said. “If the age is younger, you’re getting exposed to it at a younger age, and you don’t freak out when you get to campus.”