Amethyst Initiative


Glenn Landberg, graphic work

Amethyst Initiative

Savannah Garner

More than 100 university presidents are pushing for legislation which would lower the legal drinking age from 21 to 18 through a movement called the Amethyst Initiative.

Presidents at several large university systems have signed on including: Syracuse University, Texas A&M University, Duke University and Dartmouth.

The group claims teens drink anyway, but since they can’t always get alcohol, they are more likely to do dangerous binge drinking when they do get booze.

Amethyst Initiative argues legalizing alcohol usage will make for fewer cases of alcohol poisoning and date rape.

“If you listed the pros and cons of lowering the age down to 18,” said Doug Carnahan, dean of students, “The cons would be much longer.”

Carnahan worked in the State University of New York system when the drinking age was 18, and says he has seen the worst effects of a lower limit.

“The number of problems as a result of alcohol usage was absolutely unbelievable,” Carnahan said. “It put a lot more strain on campus authorities and residents. We had so many alcoholics on campus, we had our own chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous.”

Missouri Southern students have a variety of opinions towards the movement.

“I think it shouldn’t be lowered,” said Darius Davis, freshman, nursing major, “Because there are already enough drunk drivers and accidents happen. I believe it would cause more problems and more injuries if it was lowered.”

Jovan Alexander, junior criminal justice major, agrees with the current law.

“It should stay at 21, because I don’t think most teens are mature enough to handle alcohol and not abuse it.”

Other students agree with the initiative.

“Everyone drinks now,” said Whitney Allison, sophomore, special education major. “It doesn’t matter if they are of age or not. It’s up to them to decide if it’s the best idea. We are on our own and we are making our own decisions. We are at voting age and we are fighting for our country, therefore, we are considered adults.”

Contrasting the American model with laws elsewhere, Brittany Langdon, junior political science major, said lowering the drinking age just might work.

“It works in Europe. It can work here. Kids will drink anyway,” Langdon said.

Garrett Sullins, sophomore pre-engineering major said there would be a transition period if the initiative was put into law.

“At first, there might be more drinking, but then it would settle down and become the norm,” Sullins said.

According to Carnahan, the MSSU campus will remain dry whether the Amethyst Initiative succeeds or not.