The Amethyst Initiative: A Roundtable Discussion

A roundtable discussion of The Amethyst Initiative, moderated by CMC Vice President and Dean of Students Jeff Huang and including panelists Kaylee Araujo ’09 and Nathan Barrymore ’09 as well as Pomona College President David Oxtoby, Dr. Sandra Brown of the University of California, San Diego, and the Honorable James Piatt (retired) of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, will be held Wednesday, April 15 at the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum. The public portion of the program begins at 6:45 p.m., with free seating on a first-come basis.

Last June, Emeritus President of Middlebury College John McCardell announced the founding of the Amethyst Initiative, which asks colleges and universities to begin an informed dialogue about the effects of the 21-year-old legal drinking age. McCardell cited that the United States is one of just four countries in the world with a legal drinking age as high as 21 years old. And because many 18- to 20-year-olds engage in unsafe drinking in unsupervised places, as well as drinking and driving, more than 5,000 lives are lost each year by those under 21 years old.

Instead of treating young adults like criminals, argues McCardell, the presence of alcohol in society should be acknowledged through educational efforts in high schools and colleges, which in turn would result in granting a license to consume alcohol.

About 140 college and university presidents have signed the initiative, including Pomona College.

McCardell has been met with opposition from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, which maintains that the 21-year-old drinking age has saved countless lives, as well as prevented numerous sexual assaults and injuries.

The CMC Dean of Students Office is pleased to present a panel with various perspectives on the Amethyst Initiative. Panelists, as outlined above, include Pomona College President David Oxto by (a signer of the Amethyst Initiative), Dr. Sandra Brown, The Honorable James Piatt, Kaylee Araujo ’09, and Nathan Barrymore ’09. The panel will be moderated by Jeff Huang.