Missouri Students Association
University of Missouri
A Resolution In Support of the Amethyst Initiative
PURPOSE: To call upon UM System President Gary Forsee and Chancellor Brady Deaton to sign on to the Amethyst Initiative.
WHEREAS, launched in July 2008, the Amethyst Initiative is made up of chancellors and presidents of universities and colleges across the United States who have signed their names to a public statement that the problem of irresponsible drinking by young people continues despite the minimum legal drinking age of 21, and there is a culture of dangerous binge drinking on many campuses; AND
WHEREAS, the Amethyst Initiative supports informed and unimpeded debate on the 21 year-old drinking age and calls upon elected officials to weigh all the consequences of current alcohol policies and to invite new ideas on how best to prepare young adults to make responsible decisions about alcohol use; AND
WHEREAS, David Wolk of Castleton State College, a member of the Amethyst Initiative, says:
“I have been fortunate to have served as a college President for seven years, following a K-12 education career of 27 years that included work as a teacher, high school guidance counselor, elementary and high school principal, school superintendent and Vermont Commissioner of Education. So I have the perspective of looking at the “Choosing Responsibility” issue from the vantage point of knowing and working with both high school and college students. I support the 18 year old drinking age, as well as the related responsibilities as articulated by the Amethyst Initiative inherent with the age change. I believe that 18 year old adults in our culture are capable of voting, signing contracts, marrying, paying taxes, serving in the military, and assuming other adult endeavors including the right to drink responsibly. Other cultures have demystified alcohol consumption among young people. In the interest of improving safety, encouraging responsible maturation, and completing the aforementioned list of adult rights and responsibilities, I encourage you to join a growing number of educators who have joined the Amethyst Initiative.”
WHEREAS, Richard H. Brodhead of Duke University, a member of the Amethyst Initiative, says:
“This [is] not a college vs. university issue …. It affects any school with an undergraduate population.
Possessing and consuming alcoholic beverages is against the law under the age of 21, and we are all obliged to uphold the law. The current law has not prevented alcohol from being available, and drinking is widespread at all American colleges, and at younger ages as well. But at colleges and universities, the law does have other effects: it pushes drinking into hiding, heightening its risks, including risks from drunken driving; and it prevents us from addressing drinking with students as an issue of responsible choice.
I have admired your efforts to open a dialogue on this subject and promote more educational alternatives to the current policy….
This is not a simple question. But the current answer is also not an effective solution to the problem. I applaud you for challenging us to engage the issue more thoughtfully.”
WHEREAS, representation in the Amethyst Initiative includes: Dartmouth, Ohio State, Syracuse, Tufts, Colgate, Kenyon, Morehouse, Avila University, Murray State University, Texas A&M University—West Texas, University of Massachusetts, University of Wisconsin—Parkside, University System of Maryland, and Virginia Tech; AND
WHEREAS, the public statement of the Amethyst Initiative is in no way partisan nor implicitly supportive of a specific end other than an informed discussion on the issue, the text of which is as follows:
IT’S TIME TO RETHINK THE DRINKING AGE
In 1984 Congress passed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, which imposed a penalty of
10% of a state’s federal highway appropriation on any state setting its drinking age lower than 21.
Twenty-four years later, our experience as college and university presidents convinces us that…
TWENTY-ONE IS NOT WORKING
A culture of dangerous, clandestine “binge-drinking”—often conducted off-campus—has developed.
Alcohol education that mandates abstinence as the only legal option has not resulted in
significant constructive behavioral change among our students.
Adults under 21 are deemed capable of voting, signing contracts, serving on juries and enlisting in the military, but are told they are not mature enough to have a beer.
By choosing to use fake IDs, students make ethical compromises that erode respect for the law.
HOW MANY TIMES MUST WE RELEARN THE LESSONS OF
We call upon our elected officials:
To support an informed and dispassionate public debate over the effects of the 21 year-old drinking age.
To consider whether the 10% highway fund “incentive” encourages or inhibits that debate.
To invite new ideas about the best ways to prepare young adults to make responsible
decisions about alcohol.
We pledge ourselves and our institutions to playing a vigorous, constructive role as these critical discussions unfold.
Please add my signature to this statement:
WHEREAS, given the prevalence of under-aged drinking by students of this University, this is a discussion that our University should be advocating for and be involved in.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE MISSOURI STUDENTS ASSOCIATION SENATE that the Missouri Students Association stands in support of the Amethyst Initiative.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that UM System President Gary Forsee and MU Chancellor Brady Deaton are hereby requested to sign on to the Amethyst Initiative, committing both the University of Missouri and the University of Missouri system to an informed and dispassionate discussion on the positive and negative effects of the 21 year-old drinking age.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution be sent with the utmost respect to UM System President Gary Forsee and MU Chancellor Brady Deaton by the Speaker of the Senate on behalf of the Senate and the members of the Association.
Sen. Josh Travis, Chairman, Operations Cmte
Sen. Paul Whiteside, Chairman, Student Affairs Cmte