MSU Prez Enters Drinking Age Debate

Is 21 a realistic age limit for legal drinking? Montclair State University’s Susan Cole, not surprisingly, is concerned about under-age drinking. Cole, along with 129 college presidents, announced she’s signed on with the national Amethyst Initiative, to rethink the legal drinking age. Cole doesn’t necessarily favor lowering the bar, but says how the law impacts binge drinking and drunk driving needs to be studied: ‚Äúthe current drinking age has not eliminated alcohol abuse; it has driven it underground and out of the reach of counselors who are trained to help students deal with these issues.‚Äù …MADD members and Senator Richard Cody wasted no time dissing the initiative, calling it “reckless.”

My Ballot Box

Should The Legal Drinking Age Be Lowered?

Are you nuts? Absolutely not!

Yes. Get the drinkers out of the closet, where we can see them.

Tough question, not sure.

View Results

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  1. Either lower the drinking age to 18 or raise the age for military service to 21. If your old enough to serve your country then your old enough to be served.

  2. As the drinking age is lowered the concommitant rise in highway fatalities ensures that it’s a decision not to be made lightly.

  3. What if you dropped the drinking age to 16 and raise the driving age to 21.
    By the time kids turn 21, drinking wouldn’t be so novel anymore, and they’d have some more experience with it and understanding their own limits. And a few years to get used to navigating mass transit systems.
    That’s something I miss about living in the city. Drink what you like and take a bus or the subway home.

  4. “Either lower the drinking age to 18 or raise the age for military service to 21. If your old enough to serve your country then your old enough to be served.”
    And if you’re old enough to drink or serve in the military, you should be old enough to know the difference between your and you’re. Just saying.

  5. you cant raise the driving age to 21! how is someone expected to get to work or school till they are 21???? My thoughts are not on the 18year olds getting served. My problem is that you allow 18 year olds to buy beer at the store for their 16 year old friends. At least a 16 year old today has to find a 21 year old to buy them beer. What if we allow 18 year olds to drink at a bar, but not be able to buy packaged goods? I dont know if going out to drink is safer than staying home and drinking

  6. I think drinking age should be tied to where you are in your life.
    If you’re still living at home with mommy and daddy and are unable to support yourself, you are not mature enough to handle the responsibility of alcohol. This not only takes care of the under 18 crowd, but also a great deal of man/women-children that leech off their parents after they’re out of college and long after their parents are responsible for them legally.

  7. As a seasoned (often well-seasoned, ho ho ho) veteran of those fast times when Jersey teens regularly crossed the state line to drink in NY (and on a summer weekend it seemed very possible to run into almost all one’s Jersey peers at one Greenwood Lake boite or another on a summer’s weekend), I say no to lowering the drinking age.
    Mainly because I remember when it was lowered against the recommendations of insurance companies, and when it was raised again after they presented their carefully amassed statistics about teens, accidents and drunk driving a few years later. In some ways, the kids will never be “alright.”
    Why, too, would lowering the drinking age cut down on binge drinking? Frat rat types are frat rats at any age, lowering the age barrier just makes it easier for them.
    This is also sort of an “old” item. I read about the college prexys’ initiative several weeks ago. Or is this maybe just an example of how pokey life at Montclair State really is?

  8. That’s true, Jimmytown. I was thinking that mass transit systems should expand to accommodate them, but realistically, that wouldn’t happen quickly enough.
    So here’s my new plan: Drinking age down to 16. Auto drivers license at 21. Kids from 17 to 20 just get to drive motor-scooters. That way, if they drive drunk, the threat they pose to other people is minimal, and they can still get to work.
    And the best part – those scooters are super fuel efficient! And those kids will learn to drive defensively right from the get-go!

  9. I think the momentum to lower the age limit is a result of observational data that shows kids are still engaged in drinking from 16-20 years of age despite all the efforts and programs to comply to the 21 age limit law. I think the higher ed support is also a reaction to legal pressure for colleges/universities to be liable for alcohol-related accidents/deaths that occur on school property or school-sponsored functions.
    In any event, age 18 means legal adult status, and therefore should also infer accepting any consequences of mismanagement of alcohol consumption. To answer MADD, I’d say to put pressure on parents to become better parents instead of devising federal laws to limit their risk exposure.

  10. MSU is a dry campus (on paper, if not in practice), so why is Cole chiming in at all?
    Even if you are over 21 and caught with a 6 pack on campus (by the wrong person), you’re in some deep dooky.

  11. Stop equating the change in drinking age to the change in drunk driving accidents. There are other factors that affect this change.
    The way society views drunk driving has changed. Cops used to pull you over and either take your beer or just tell you to drive home carefully. Now they arrest you, and take you off the street. From that perspective, there should be less drunk drivers on the road.
    Second, thanks to MADD, SADD and the like, drunk driving is now socially unacceptable, to a high degree.
    Also, bar owners are required to stop serving and most liquor serving establishments will prevent you from driving, certain more than was done in the past.
    Cars cost more, so kids are less likely to own a car at 17 then they were at 21. Same goes for gas.
    There are more people and more congestion than there was back when the drinking age was 18, so the probability of a accident is higher.
    I’m not saying the change in age is not a factor, it’s just not the only factor.
    I believe it to be less of a factor since many other countries have a lower drinking age and they do not see the same issues as we do.
    I for one would like to see the drinking age dropped to 16. I also believe that kids should not be able to drive a car until they can drive a stick shift, pass a challenging driving test, and change their own oil. But hey, what do I know.

  12. Oh and if you think kids are not drinking at 18 already, you’re dreaming. When I went to school, 90+% of the school drank. Booze was available and consumed in great quantities.

  13. captain-
    Motorscooters work only its dry weather. Here’s an idea (it will work on Ridgewood Ave) Anyone can drink and drive, but they need golf carts and they have to stay in the running lane. Also, where that white painted line is, we will replace with a median, so the golf carts cant veer into the road. its perfect.
    @ Mellon Brush-
    It would be unfair if Cathar was the only one who could drink

  14. It’s grand to proofread on this site, but I think it’s silly that so many folks correct their typos (we get it — they are typos).
    Also — ComplainerPuss (for the record), your own post needed a comma after “drink” (the correct sentence would be “if you’re old enough to drink, or serve in the military, you should be old enough… ” And yes, part of my “real”job is copyediting. I think we all need to lighten up.

  15. Well, jimmytown, anyway drink wisely and with some appreciation for both quality spirits and proper deportment.
    You’re much welcome to soil yourself with Miller Lite, just try not to do where there are ladies prsent.(And do you have the right dirty words for such occasions? It’d be so unfair if you weren’t allowed to summon up some profanity for those days, it’s so key to your infantility.)

  16. I’ve had this conversation with friends and co-workers numerous times in the last couple of weeks (since the story broke). I suspect that if the penalty for drinking and driving was IMMEDIATE AND PERMANENT (or at least 5-year) LOSS OF LICENSE, the 18-21 year-old crowd might stick to drinking in the dorms/frat houses and stay off the road. Think about it–esp here in NJ where you can’t get too many places easily via mass transit–that might scare the pants off them enough to keep them off the roads.
    I agree that the majority of young adults in that age range are drinking regularly already-why not teach them to be more responsible drinkers earlier on? Maybe drunk driving #s would actually go down for the over-21 crowd?

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