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Wasted Resources (Pun Intended)

July 1, 2009

beerpong2I know I usually stick to pop-cultural stuff, but I read a New York Times editorial this morning (Yes, in the print version! Keep on truckin’, old media!) that I felt I had to comment on. The editorial is called “Binge Drinking on Campus,” and its basic gist is this: A new study indicates that ever since the drinking age was raised to 21, binge drinking has decreased among all 18- to 21-year-olds except college students, whose binge drinking remained consistent. Therefore, college administrations should be doing more to prevent underage drinking. This is a repudiation of the Amethyst Initiative, a petition signed by over 100 college presidents which basically advocates re-lowering the drinking age.

Now, I’m no fan of the Asher Roth college-is-all-about-getting-shitfaced-every-night school of thought, but as an American college student I really have to feel sorry for anyone tasked with reducing undergraduate boozing in the US. That’s like asking college presidents to empty the ocean with a Solo cup. Young adults (like many regular adults) like drinking, and when you get a whole bunch of them together they really like drinking. How are school administrations supposed to stop them from doing so?

Seriously, though, this would kill you

Seriously, though, this would kill you

The Times editorial suggests “better counseling or stronger bans on under-age drinking.” First of all, students are less likely to seek counseling if they have to fear repercussions from the school or the police; I believe that’s part of Amethyst’s point. Students who are forced into counseling without any genuine desire to change their behavior will attend whatever sessions they’re told to attend and then promptly forget the whole experience.

Part of this article was published as a letter to the editor in the Times. Since the Times demands exclusivity, that portion has been removed from this post, but you can find the letter here.

Finally, one possibly sophomoric question: Are we to assume that the New York Times editorial staff never drank in college?

One Comment leave one →
  1. conservativepirate permalink
    July 1, 2009 8:15 pm

    Indeed, excellent last point. The only thing regulation will do is increase the ways we get around it. I can assure you, as a “drunken frat boy” myself 🙂

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