UR President Joel Seligman chose not to sign the Amethyst Initiative, a document released last month that calls for a serious debate on whether the current drinking age of 21 is working as a public policy. The Initiative merits attention because it has drawn 130 signatures from the public figures who have perhaps the most direct experience with underage drinking college presidents. Given the prevalence of drinking at UR, Seligman should reconsider and sign the Initiative.

On a college campus especially, mutual respect and communication between students and UR Security is essential. Students have a rare opportunity to interact directly with the men and women protecting them. Instead, underclassmen eye security officers with suspicion and sneak drinks past their Resident Advisers, rather than counting on them for support and safety.

At a school where the most recent CORE Alcohol and Drug Survey revealed that 70 percent of students reported drinking alcohol last month, it is paramount that student leaders can have an honest conversation about alcohol with administrators like Dean of Students Matthew Burns. Just as the drinking age prevents students from positively interacting with security officers, so does it stop student leaders and administrators from coming together to find solutions to excessive drinking.

In the March 6 edition of the Campus Times, the Editorial Board argued that without coordinated events on Dandelion Day, students would be more likely to stay in their rooms and drink. While any party scene brings with it the possibility of alcohol abuse, a University-endorsed, supervised event is preferable to a situation in which students are drinking in their rooms.

Seligman argued in a press release that he could not justify signing the Initiative at this time because he had not seen ‘compelling evidence” that lowering the drinking age would help reduce binge drinking and alcohol abuse. However, it is clear that a more sensible drinking age would create a sense of openness at UR and lead to a more cooperative and, most importantly, a safer Friday-night scene. That alone makes the Amethyst Initiative worth signing.



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