The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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University presidents reconsider drinking age laws

Alcohol plays a different role in every culture. America has many restrictions on alcohol and that can entice people who aren’t legally able to drink to do so.

‘In the Italian culture, they don’t even have a word for being drunk, you’re just crazy or a little unbalanced,’ English professor Joseph Galasso said. ‘I think there is a dimension to it (in the U.S.) that if you’re not supposed to do something, the sneak element is there. There is kind of an edge to that.’

Recently, university presidents throughout the nation have called for a discussion about the drinking age law. They believe that if the law were changed to make the legal drinking age 18 instead of 21, there would be less binge drinking on college campuses.

Although people on campus have differing views on the subject, Galasso agrees with this idea.

‘Once you make it legal, maybe there won’t be as much binge drinking,’ he said. ‘Everyone will have access to it.’

Todd Idashkin, an accounting major, agrees with Galasso and the university presidents about lowering the legal drinking age. He said that many people drink illegally solely because it is illegal.

‘I think that people drink from their early teens and lowering it isn’t going to do much except allow them to drink legally instead of illegally,’ Idashkin said. ‘ I think it will make people more responsible in the fact that it won’t have an appeal that it is illegal. When something is illegal people are more likely to do it and abuse it. It’s a psychological thing.’

Idashkin said he thinks that changing the legal drinking age makes sense. At 18 people can join the military, vote and sign for credit cards. They are legally considered adults.

‘At 18, you’re considered a consenting adult,’ he said. ‘You can give consent for everything. You now have to take responsibility; it doesn’t go back to your parents. So why doesn’t the pleasure come with the responsibility?’

The California State University system does not support lowering the drinking age at this time.

Teresa Ruiz, public affairs communications specialist, said the CSU adopted a comprehensive alcohol policy in 2001 that has so far been effective. Since the policy has been adopted, the campuses have reported a reduction in alcohol misconduct.

‘There are training programs for each campus to discuss alcohol abuse,’ Ruiz said. ‘Basically the policy is very comprehensive and it includes collaboration with six state agencies including the Business Transportation and Housing Agency, Alcoholic Beverage Control and the California Highway Patrol.’

According to Vadim Perlovskiy, a junior business and marketing major, being able to illegally drink is a status symbol.

‘It shows that you’re cool and you can get booze,’ he said. ‘So why make it special? The more you say it’s not allowed, the more people want it. The thing is, when you want something, you’re going to get it and no law is going to stop you.’ Rather than making it difficult, but possible and more rewarding when you do it, it should be an everyday thing.’

Perlovskiy said he thinks that many of the detriments that alcohol brings to society will be prevalent no matter what age the law permits.

‘You can’t avoid it,’ he said.’ ‘You’re always going to have the drunks of the stupid people that push it over the edge. But you’ve got to trust people to be responsible for the power you give them.’

Tim Trevan, director of student housing and conference services, said he agrees with the CSU’s standpoint concerning this law.

‘The reasons are that the CSU believes that it will have a detrimental effect; specifically increase fatalities and traffic fatalities,’ he said. ‘As a system, we believe it will have a negative impact on student safety.’

Having a strong alcohol policy, Trevan said, is helpful in keeping an academic environment in the dorms.

‘I really believe that students benefit from the structure of having a no-drinking environment,’ he said. ‘I think individually, 18-year-olds are not as equipped as older students to understand their own limits and to act in a way that will help them responsibly pursue their academic careers.’

Freshman Charlie Seibert said she thinks that people should only drink when they are ready to accept the responsibility that comes with being an adult and consuming alcohol.

‘People shouldn’t be allowed to drink until they can assume the responsibility of living on their own,’ she said. ‘They have their parents paying for their tuition and books and dorm and gas and yet they expect to be treated as adults. I don’t think that’s right.’

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