College presidents at more than 100 schools signed a letter calling for lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18, saying that the higher cut-off had encouraged a culture of clandestine binge-drinking. "Twenty-one is not working," says the group's statement, signed by presidents from prominent colleges such as Dartmouth, Duke and Syracuse. (Newsday)
What the commentators said
It’s clear on any campus that students find ways to get their hands on alcohol, said Steve Chapman in the Chicago Tribune’s Minority of One blog, but setting the drinking age at 21 has had a major impact. Alcohol-related traffic deaths have dropped in the last quarter century, and “they've dropped most among those under the age of 21.”
Still, it’s hard to quibble with the educators’ logic, said Mike Hashimoto in The Dallas Morning News’ Opinion blog. They say kids drink whether it’s legal or illegal, and forcing them to do it in secret can be dangerous. And if adults under 21 can vote, sign contracts, serve on juries, and enlist in the military, shouldn’t they be allowed to have a beer?
No, said Barb Shelly in the Kansas City Star’s Midwest Voices blog. “Life is unfair that way.” Besides, young adults won’t drink less at a keg party because it’s legal. Surely the nation’s brightest college presidents can come up with a better way to fight binge drinking than telling kids to go ahead and drink.