College students, drinking an ongoing debate
"It's time to rethink the drinking age ... 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. ... We call upon our elected officials: To support an informed and dispassionate public debate over the effects of the 21-year-old drinking age. ..."
The above is part of the "statement" of the Amethyst Initiative signed by a long list of 135 university presidents, including Jeffrey Von Arx of Fairfield University. The stated goal of the Amethyst Initiative is to rethink the drinking age, but to read the statement these presidents are done thinking and have made up their minds. So far, the president of my alma mater, Lehigh University, hasn't signed on and I am glad that is the case. It's not that I don't think the drinking age should be 18, because I do -- but today 18 simply is not the law. I just happen to think the Amethyst Initiative is a weasel way for the signatory academics to wash their hands of their responsibility to promote compliance with the law by their student bodies. At the very least their signatures send the wrong message to the student body.
College kids aren't as dumb as the presidents make them out to be. The recent "discovery" of underage drinking at Bravo Restaraunt in Fairfield Center is testament to that.
Regarding the recent article, one of many, regarding disgruntled city residents and Sacred Heart University students, I felt compelled to add my thoughts. I am a North End-area resident for more than 40 years. Five years ago, a home directly across the street from me was leased to Sacred Heart students. They have lived there for their entire college education. They have been respectful and in the few occasions that there were parties they always made sure Glendale Avenue was free of garbage. A new group has just moved in and are equally respectable; I might also add that I have had neighbors who blast their stereos who are taxpayers.
The student's family pays a high price to get their children an excellent education and I have always been happy that a facility like Sacred Heart was in my backyard, so to speak. I am not disregarding the views of some other North End residents. I do know that many of these students will end up living in the city of Bridgeport after they graduate.
If residents are having a problem they should pressure the landlord. The Sacred Heart students are great in my neighborhood. We should welcome them into our city. I also do respect my neighbors for aggressively voicing their opinions because I know that not all of us are experiencing the same reality.