It’s all too rare that college presidents, a group often
collectively known as "The Man," are celebrated on college campuses. But today,
college audience raised bottles of Boone’s
and boxes of refreshing
Franzia in a toast to the 114 college presidents, including Minnesota’s own
Jack Ohle – president of Gustavus Adolphus, who signed on to the Amethyst Initiative. The
initiative calls for a renewed debate on the legal drinking age and advocates dropping
the legal age to 18.
Of course, it’s a logical argument. Eighteen year olds can already
cast a vote for the future of our country. They can buy a gun and go off to war
where, if they’re lucky, they’ll have the opportunity to use high explosives to solve
vexing diplomatic problems. They can even buy a toxic slurry of flammable
carcinogens and stimulants without resorting to offering that hormonally gifted
kid in their English class who can grow facial hair "extra credit" behind the
dumpsters, in return for his assistance at SuperUSA.
And yet, upon heading off to college, they have to dangle
those same goodies in front of frat boys and McLovin wannabes,
though at this point they’ve become wise enough to realize that they don’t
actually have to give it up in order to get exactly what they want. It seems a
bizarre set of circumstances, to say the least.
Despite this three year safeguard against the judgment
impairing joy of alcohol, a culture of binge drinking still pervades college
campuses. So it’s unsurprising college presidents would be interested in
bringing drinking and drunken hook-ups off the futons, twin beds and bean bag
chairs of dorm rooms and run-down rental housing and into the relative safety
of licensed establishments complete with bouncers and bartenders happy to cut-off a
drunken lush or
curb stomp the more obnoxious inebriates.
But despite the obvious risk management benefits of such an
initiative, not to mention addressing one of American society’s many
hypocrisies, it’s plain to see that these officials have not done their due
diligence on the true cost of raising the legal drinking age – the complete and
utter destruction of the modern college experience.
For what is college if not a place to furtively sneak
alcohol into dorm rooms and engage in frantic slurred shushing so as not to attract the
attention of the dread cyclopean RA? Whither stories of roommates piddling
in shoes and crapping in dresser drawers as their booze-addled senses
inform them that closets are bathrooms? How can the collegiate economy survive
if the fake ID industry collapses?
And most importantly – how will anyone get laid? Sure, those
precocious few in meaningful long-term relationships will still exchange sweet
nothings after engaging in futon-borne quickies between classes. But, as all
the world knows, the average college freshman male is an insipid creature,
capable neither of sustained conversation nor sustained coitus. To coax the
fabled coed into his lair requires enticement, generally in the form of
illicitly obtained alcoholic beverages. To lower the drinking age is to negate
the only weapon in the 18 year old male’s arsenal.
Do we really want to consign the future leaders of America to a
youth of sexual frustration and disappointment? To do so is to admit to ourselves
that yes, the terrorists, and possibly the Quakers, have won.