August 22, 2008
To: The Campus Community
From: Joan Hinde Stewart
Along with some 125 other college and university presidents, I have signed on to the Amethyst Initiative. Information about the initiative, headed by former Middlebury president John McCardell, and the statement itself, calling for broad discussion of the current 21-year-old drinking age, are available at the Amethyst Initiative Web site
The statement does not advocate either lowering or raising that age, but rather asks for informed debate about the effectiveness of a law that is now nearly a quarter century old. My motivation in signing is concern for the health and safety of our students and the belief that it is time to examine the consequences of the 1984 law and to consider whether there are alternative ways of addressing the deadly serious alcohol problems that our country and our campuses face.
Even as we call for a discussion of the data, my presidential colleagues and I recognize the responsibility of our colleges and universities to adhere to the current statutes that govern the consumption of alcohol by students on our campuses.
I look forward to the debates and discussions that will occur around these topics.