ASU stays out of drinking-age debate

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Monday, August 25, 2008
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The presidents of hundreds of well-known colleges and universities are talking to lawmakers about dropping the drinking age, but ASU officials said the University would not participate.

“Regarding lowering the drinking age, ASU has decided to not get involved with it,” ASU spokeswoman Julie Newberg said.

Presidents who signed the petition said the current laws actually encourage underage students to drink alcohol illegally on campus, according to the Web site for the Amethyst Initiative, which aims to lower the drinking age to 18.

Though the professors acknowledge the hazards of drinking, they say research shows legal activities are less alluring than illegal ones.

Chemistry graduate student Daniel Barr agreed with the initiative.

“I would support it because nobody can kid themselves that underage students are just seeking the thrill of doing something illegal,” Barr said.

Family and human development senior Ashleigh Aleghorenewold disagreed with the idea of changing the drinking age.

“I don’t really think that would stop accidents or immature acts from happening because, as it is, people who are underage just ask older friends to get drinks for them,” Aleghorenewold said. “They would just be able to get it themselves then without the help of older friends if the idea was made legal.”

Jeff Smith, a leader of the local Christian Challenge religious organization, said lowering the drinking age wouldn’t have a big impact.

“A family member of mine didn’t get a DUI until he was 50 years old, and my brother didn’t get a DUI until he was 29 years old, so I don’t really think age is the main problem.”

Chemistry and biochemistry senior Chris Neagra said laws are the foundation of the United States and should not be disregarded.

“It shouldn’t be allowed. It is going over U.S. boundaries,” Neagra said. “The law says you have to be 21 years of age to drink, and that’s that. It’s like changing Fahrenheit to Celsius.”

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