Drinking Age Debate: Who Benefits?

Jessica Bade

Over 120 Chancellors and Presidents of America’s colleges and universities have become signatories on a petition that asks lawmakers to consider lowering the drinking age to 18. All signatories agree that having a drinking age of 21 promotes binge drinking and other unsafe alcohol- related practices. And while Quinnipiac is not included on the petition, some of QU’s close neighboring colleges are among the signatories, including Fairfield University, University of Hartford, and University of New Haven.
“I don’t think it would solve anything if they changed it, “says junior physician assistant major Claire Fortier.
Many colleges in support of lowering the drinking age believe that lawmakers should seriously consider whether or not making the legal drinking age 21 is an active deterrent in keeping students and teens away from alcohol. As the Choose Responsibility website, dedicated to urging individuals to drink responsibly says, “The time has come to address the reality of alcohol in America.”
One of the most vocal parties on the opposition to changing the drinking age is M.A.D.D (Mother’s Against Drunk Driving) who believes that the longer one goes without access to alcohol, the less chance he or she will have of having an alcohol dependency in their later years and the less chance of people driving drunk. According to M.A.D.D, 48% of alcohol consumed by 4-year college students was of those students under the age of 21, and 57.8% of full time college students ages 18-20 have reported drinking alcohol in the last month.
So, how well are the laws set in place working now? Since the laws changed in the later 1980’s there has been significant increase in the fake identification business and it seems as though underage students are not having any trouble getting their hands on what they want.
“You can buy a handle of vodka and drink the whole thing in your house, or if you go out and a drink cost $4 you are not going to spend as much money so you might drink less,” said Amanda Kannengieser a junior physical therapy major.
The major issue in question is whether or not colleges and universities believe that lowering the drinking age will be in the best interest and safety of those involved or if it would mean less time and energy reprimanding the underage population who is inevitably going to drink.
“What is comes down to for these colleges is liability,” says Kelley Duffy and junior Psychology major, “The only thing that would change is that the schools would be less liable if the students were of age and drinking.”