WaPo | Mark Fisher | On Campus, Legal Drinking Age Is Flunking the Reality Test
Next week, when President C.D. "Dan" Mote welcomes freshmen to the University of Maryland, he will inform them that the college police will enforce underage drinking laws "with terrific ferocity." And then he will turn around and, recognizing that most students do drink, tell the teenagers "to take care of each other when they see someone who's passed out, to take advantage of all of our services for students who abuse alcohol."
"We have a real conflict here," Mote says, and he's talking not only about the College Park campus but about every university and about our entire society. We live in a time when efforts to enforce the prohibition on drinking before age 21 are more aggressive than ever, yet there is a common assumption that most young people routinely violate that law....
Too many colleges have become grim enclaves of student binge drinking that leads to all manner of degrading and ugly behavior. "Virtually every sexual assault is associated with alcohol abuse," Mote says. "Almost every assault of any kind is related to drinking. The drinking-age issue is not just about drinking and driving. It's a much bigger pie, and we college presidents see that whole pie."...
"The social contract is broken," Mote tells me. "Legislators have made laws that the people do not take seriously. Students point to our alcohol programs and say, 'See, everybody understands that we are going to drink,' and they're right."
All quite reasonable and realistic. And then, the idiots arrive:
Well, maybe. In just 48 hours since Mote's participation in the initiative became public, he's been besieged with criticism. Maryland Del. Bill Bronrott (D-Montgomery) wants Mote and other presidents to remove their names from the petition and get tougher on enforcing the law. Bronrott, a physician who works on alcohol issues, says the research supports the success of the higher age limit in reducing deaths.