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September 03, 2008

UVM Gets Amethysted

Mccardell Next Stop: Tequila and Tortillas at the Davis Center + Pong and Flip Cup in the Gutterson Arena!

UVM Student Government Association President Jay Taylor tells me that the SGA Senate passed their first bill of the new semester Tuesday night. And for once, the student government has done something that Catamounts may actually appreciate.

The bill supports the Amethyst Initiative, a petition signed by more than 100 university presidents who agree that we need to begin a national conversation about lowering the 21 drinking age. Pioneered here in Vermont by former Middlebury president John McCardell (see photo), the Amethyst Initiative gained national attention this summer as major college presidents from Tufts to Syracuse signed on.

An excerpt from their site:

Launched in July 2008, the Amethyst Initiative 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.

UVM President Fogel has not yet signed the petition. Duh.

Ironically, the ancient Greeks believed the Amethyst, a purple stone, had the ability to prevent intoxication. I guess the Kegs and Eggs Initiative was taken. 

College students like to drink alcohol. People between 18 and 21 like to drink alcohol. On campus, off-campus, between on and off-campus — it's been that way since long before the drinking age was moved to 21. Maybe that's not a good enough reason for some. Perhaps changing the drinking age back to 18 is indeed a poor decision. But it's time that we on the front lines sit down and have an intelligent conversation about it. Isn't having honest debates part of what college is all about?   

That and illegally drinking obscene amounts of alcohol and engaging in reckless activities...

Photo by Matthew Thorsen, from "All Stirred Up," a profile of McCardell and his work in last year's Aug. 22 issue of Seven Days.

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