Magazine article University Business

More on Alcohol Abuse. (Letters)

Magazine article University Business

More on Alcohol Abuse. (Letters)

Article excerpt

Just got my copy of University Business and I am ecstatic rereading your Editor's Note, "On the Alcohol Abuse Crisis" [July/August 2002]. I wish I had written the piece.

Research Associate, IRAPP 
Morehead State University, Morehead, KY 

When I got a third of the way through your editorial, I thought, "Wow, she has a great idea." Lower the drinking age so the parents can socialize their children into proper drinking habits before those children show up at higher education's doorstep. I fear that [the] American society has been contributing to the dumbing-down of children. We let our teenagers remain children until they are well into their 20s. We try to protect them from life's harm, but perhaps inadvertently leave them more exposed. Yet, I think then is a flaw in your logic. Lowering the drinking age to 18 will not, in itself, mean the parents will socialize the children into proper drinking. The parents will probably neglect that aspect of child raising just as they have with the legal age set at 21. You talk about the perception of parents that booze has increasingly become a problem [on campus]. But has it? What are the numbers? Were there more or less alcohol-related deaths, injuries, and rapes on campus before the change of the drinking age to 21? I'm still in favor of lowering the legal age, however. If colleges have drinking problems, then the answer is not in taking away freedoms, but in teaching responsibility. Teaching responsibility needs to be done earlier in a child's life, but I fail to see how changing the drinking age, alone, will accomplish that.

JEFF GERKEN, Office of Institutional Research 
University at Albany, SUNY, Albany, NY 

Just a quick e-mail to thank you for your astute comments, especially given they will probably upset many. I agree with your thoughts ... We need to teach and instruct children prior to going to college, if we expect them to make sound decisions involving finances, sex, AND alcohol.

Parkland College, Champaign, IL 

Right on! I have long held the same opinion, However, I think the magic number should be age 19 so as to keep drinking (legal drinking, anyway) out of the high schools. …

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