College presidents pushing lower drinking age


You can hardly find a more distinguished and respectable demographic than college and university presidents. Did you know that they are organizing to push for a major change in America’s civil law? They have grown weary of enforcing the 21-year-old legal drinking age on the one hand, and dealing with the real life fact that a large number of under-21s are going to drink anyway.

It makes enforcement all that much tougher when the practice of youthful drinking is driven underground. It also makes it difficult to deal with the aftermath of binge drinking, when students who may require counseling or actual medical help avoid those things in an attempt to stay out of trouble.

It also prevents events possible in the days when the beer/wine age in most jurisdictions was 18. In those days, students and faculty could share a beer or a glass of wine together, with students gaining valuable instruction in the art of responsible drinking.

University of Maryland’s Dan Mote told the Washington Post that he’s tired of the contradiction, telling students that drinking rules will be enforced “with terrific ferocity” and then having the same rules broken routinely. In other words, the 21 age limit isn’t working, he said, and he and his colleagues believe it’s become more of a hazard and distraction than going back to 18 would be. "Legislators have made laws that the people do not take seriously. Students point to our alcohol programs and say, ‘See, everybody understands that we are going to drink,’ and they’re right." At this point, the educators are merely asking for a renewed national conversation on the topic, and organizations like MADD are already offering fierce opposition.

RBR/TVBR observation: We’ve always thought that if you’re old enough to be handed a gun and sent to die for your country, you’re old enough to enjoy a beer or a glass of wine. Beyond that, broadcasters should seriously consider getting behind this effort. Although broadcasters would probably be accused of angling for more easy advertising dollars, they’ll be somewhat inoculated from criticism – it’s hard to be called boorish swine when your partners are university presidents and deans. But we’re not thinking so much about advertising dollars – we’re thinking how much easier it will be to achieve compliance with audience age composition percentages when running such ads.