College presidents shouldn’t encourage lawlessness by signing petition

To the Daily:

In response to the Daily’s article yesterday about the petition to reconsider the drinking age in the United States (Coleman hasn’t joined push to return drinking age to 18, 09/02/2008), I would like to make several points.

First, the article implied that the drinking age in every state is 21, which is not so. Many states have exceptions permitting alcohol consumption for younger people under specific circumstances, like drinking at home and with parents.

Second, the drinking age was lowered below 21 in many states during the 1970s due in large part to complaints of young people who could be drafted to fight in Vietnam but not legally drink. This was a valid and poignant complaint then, with absolutely no relevance now. None of the college kids complaining today have to worry about being conscripted to fight in Iraq. If they did, maybe their argument would be more legitimate.

In the article, John McCardell, president emeritus of Middlebury College in Vermont, was quoted as asking, “Are we truly a nation of lawbreakers or is this just a bad law?” Yes, we are a nation of lawbreakers, and these university leaders are partly to blame. Normlessness and open non-enforcement policies have created an environment where kids can choose to break the law (by drinking) without having to worry about being punished. This is no act of protest. These people just don’t have to worry about the consequences of their actions.

Rhetoric like McCardell’s reinforces the notion that you’re not doing anything wrong by drinking and that it’s OK to break this one law. But then why not others? Lowering the drinking age is a perfectly fine thing to do, if also stupid. But the fact that the law is so frequently broken does not mean it’s wrong.

Adam Ajlouni
LSA senior

From a Ute: Thanks for the hospitality

To the Daily:

I’m from Salt Lake City, and this weekend, my husband and I came with a group of people to watch the Wolverines play the Utes in the Big House. I’m writing to express what a wonderful experience we had at your stadium.

We were warmly welcomed by many Michigan fans. When we walked around before the game, several people thanked us for making the trip and even offered to take our picture by the Block M in front of the stadium. After the game, a few fans congratulated us on a good game.

Thank you for making our trip such a great experience. And the rest of the year we’ll be cheering for the Wolverines along with you.

Katie Strong
Salt Lake City, Utah

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