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Texoma universities weigh in on lowering drinking age initiative

Lawton_Many of the nation's most prestigious universities are pushing to lower the drinking age to 18.  They say they believe it will cut down on alcohol abuse.  Universities in Texoma are weighing in, and Cameron University's president says that lowering the drinking age isn't the solution.  Midwestern State University's (MSU) says it doesn't want to cite a certain age for alcohol consumption, but says it supports the movement. 

A few university presidents began the discussion, and some of the country's leading universities are now joining in.  Presidents from Duke University, Morehouse, Dartmouth and Ohio State are the movement's biggest supporters.  They are asking lawmakers to seriously consider lowering the drinking age in what is being called the "Amethyst Initiative."

Cameron says it doesn't think lowering the drinking age is the answer.  Although social drinking is sometimes a rite of passage among college students, educators proposing the change say they believe that if students are permitted to drink alcohol at a younger age, it may not hold so much fascination.  "I think that's true because people's mentality is that, ‘If I can't have it, I want it,'" said 20-year-old college student Daniel Brown.  "If you lower the age there's going to be less binge drinking by 18 year olds on campus...It's not this big taboo of, ‘I can't drink, I'm not 21.'"

Some educators at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls agree with Brown.  Dr. Howard Farrell, MSU's Vice President of University's Advancement says he supports the initiative.  "Personally, I support that, as I believe it is the responsibility of the University to educate the entire person," he said.  "Any time there is an open and honest dialogue on issues, only good things emanate from the discussion." 

However, Cameron University President Cindy Ross does not agree.  In a statement, she says, "While underage drinking and binge drinking are issues that demand increased public attention, lowering the drinking age is not the solution."  Some students share her view.  "If you're 18 and allowed to buy alcohol, then it's going to permeate to younger children in the high schools - like the freshman and the sophomores - because the seniors are going to be able to buy for them," said 20-year-old college student Amanda Finch.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) agrees with those against the initiative.  They say that science and research shows that when the age was raised to 21, it reduced binge drinking, underage drinking, and saved lives.

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