Fairfield University President joins national effort to re-examine the minimum drinking age


Fr. Jeffrey von Arx, S.J., president of Fairfield University, is among the first college presidents and chancellors to sign on to the Amethyst Initiative, launched in July, 2008, that supports an informed and unimpeded debate on the 21-year-old drinking age. The group wants to look at the consequences of current alcohol policies and invites new ideas on how best to prepare young adults to make responsible decisions about alcohol use.

The Initiative grew out of a talk given by John McCardell, president emeritus of Middlebury College and founder of Choose Responsibility, to about 120 liberal arts colleges. The group quickly discovered a common desire to reopen public debate over the minimum drinking age, which in large part had been determined by the 1984 National Minimum Drinking Age Act, which imposes a penalty of 10% on the federal highway appropriation for any state setting its drinking age lower than 21. The bill comes up for reauthorization in 2009, and so an examination of its effectiveness is timely.

In a statement issued in support of the Amethyst Initiative, Fr. von Arx said: "I applaud the Amethyst Initiative that invites us all to re-examine how we are helping our young people learn to handle the consumption of alcohol responsibly. I look forward to leading a vigorous discussion on campus."

Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell presented the 2008 Key Leadership Award to Fairfield University for the numerous programs it has initiated to reduce high-risk behaviors on campus and the surrounding communities. Fairfield has taken a proactive and up-front approach to addressing the college drinking culture, adopting a multi-pronged, multidisciplinary approach.

To learn more about the Amethyst Initiative, please go to: www.amethystinitiative.org.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on August 18, 2008

Vol. 41, No. 31