Stop the presses:
In a new study, the National Institutes of Health find that college
students drink a lot. They needed a study to find that out? It gets
even more blindingly obvious: "Though common on many campuses,
alcohol abuse does not run rampant among all college and university
students," declares an NIH press release, which goes on to explain
(really) that heavy drinkers drink the most.
The study proposes
such solutions as harsher enforcement of the drinking age, establishment
of Friday night and Saturday morning classes, and an increase in the
number of alcohol-free dorms. "I've lived in college dormitories
for much of my adult life," says the Rev. Edward Malloy, Notre
Dame's president and co-chairman of the NIH's college drinking task
force, "so I know firsthand the impact irresponsible drinking has
on the quality of residential life."
But the NIH does
not suggest the most sensible approach: making collegiate imbibing safe
and legal by lowering the drinking age to 19. Since 1986, when the federal
government forced states to raise the age to 21, we've heard of study
after study showing "binge drinking" in college is on the
rise. With alcohol completely off limits to adults under 21, it's little
wonder they have a hard time learning to drink responsibly.
As the NIH was releasing
its study today, the Hartford Courant was reporting that Yale has become
the fourth college to defy federal law by announcing it will reimburse
students who lose their financial aid because of drug convictions. Western
Washington University and Hampshire and Swarthmore colleges also scoff
at this provision of the 1988 Higher Education Act. If colleges won't
respect federal law when it comes to illegal drugs, does it really make
sense to deputize them as Prohibition enforcers?