April 13, 2009
Vol. 24 , No. 10
The Amethyst Initiative: A Roundtable Discussion
KAYLEE ARAUJO ’09
NATHAN BARRYMORE ’09
JEFFERSON HUANG, moderator
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15, 2009
Last June, Emeritus President of Middlebury College John McCardell announced the founding of the Amethyst Initiative. The Amethyst Initiative asked colleges and universities to begin an informed dialog about the effects of the 21-year-old legal drinking age. McCardell cited that the United States is one of only four countries in the world with a legal drinking age as high as 21 years old, and because many 18-to-20-year-olds engage in unsafe binge drinking in unsupervised places, as well as drinking and driving, more than 5,000 lives are lost each year by those under 21 years old. Instead of treating young adults like criminals, argues McCardell, we ought to acknowledge the presence of alcohol in society through educational efforts in high schools and colleges, which in turn would result in granting a license to consume alcohol.
Approximately 140 college and university presidents have signed the initiative, including Pomona College.
McCardell has been met with opposition from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, who maintain that the 21-year-old drinking age has saved countless lives, as well as prevented numerous sexual assaults and injuries.
The CMC Dean of Students Office is pleased to present a panel with various perspectives on the Amethyst Initiative. Panelists include Pomona College President David Oxtoby (a signer of the Amethyst Initiative), Dr. Sandra Brown of the University of California at San Diego, The Honorable James Piatt (Retired) of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Kaylee Araujo ’09, and Nathan Barrymore ’09. The moderator for the panel will be CMC VP and Dean of Students, Jeff Huang.