Editor’s note: The Scout interviewed President Glasser via e-mail. Below is a transcript of the interview.
A plan supporting debate on the 21-year-old drinking age is in the works and gaining support from 130 college and university presidents across the country.
The plan, called the Amethyst Initiative, calls for a debate among officials about whether the current drinking age is working. It says the current law creates “a culture of dangerous, clandestine ‘binge-drinking,’” and choosing to use fake IDs forces students to “make ethical compromises,” according to amethystiniative.org.
The Scout asked University President Joanne Glasser about her stance on the Amethyst Initiative and her thoughts on the new Comprehensive Alcohol Action Plan.
SCOUT: What is your stance on the Amethyst Initiative? Why have you chosen this stance?
GLASSER: I am opposed to the Amethyst Initiative and have gone on record on behalf of the university as such. The reason I oppose this initiative is that there is no evidence to support that lowering the drinking age would result in a reduction of alcohol use and abuse by college students. The role of colleges and universities on this issue should be to develop a plan that would result in a reduction in the use and abuse of alcohol by college students. This is what we have done at Bradley. Finally, experts in the misuse of alcohol by college students have concluded that it would be a mistake to lower the drinking age. I wholeheartedly concur … I do not believe that this initiative has much public support.
S: What is the ultimate goal for Bradley’s Comprehensive Alcohol Action Plan?
G: The ultimate goals of the plan are to make a difference in the use and abuse of alcohol by Bradley students and as a result, lead to a safer and healthier campus and campus community. This plan will serve as a national model/plan for other universities because of its comprehensive elements that focus on education, social alternatives, student leadership responsibility and judicial sanctions.
S: When do you expect to begin seeing results?
G: We hope to see results from this plan as early as the spring 2009 semester, but changing a culture takes time. One key result we hope to achieve is to change the culture on campus to reduce or eliminate the abuse and misuse of alcohol.
S: What changes can students expect in the future as a result of the plan?
G: Bradley students will see many changes as a result of this plan, including late-night [or] non-alcoholic programs and activities as well as in judicial sanctions, educational programs, responsibilities of being a student leader and in living off campus. A major change is the information we are providing students at orientation and in freshman EHS 120 classes about our Alcohol Policy. We hope that education will lead to fewer problems and a healthier, safer campus community.
S: Will there be any additions or subtractions to the plan? How often will you re-evaluate the plan?
G: The plan is subject to change and evaluation on a regular monthly basis. We anticipate there will be additions and subtractions as time goes on.