Campus News

Whose Responsibility: Debating Drinking Age

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 12, 2009) The debate on lowering the legal age of alcohol consumption has captured the nation's attention in recent months. The University of Kentucky Alcohol and Health Education Office brings that debate to campus Thursday, Nov. 12.

John McCardell, who will speak in support of lowering the drinking age, is the founder of the Choose Responsibility campaign and former president of Middlebury College. James Fell, who will be arguing against lowering the drinking age, is the senior program director at the Pacific Institute of Research and Evaluation

The "Whose Responsibility" debate will begin at 7 p.m. in Worsham Theatre of the Student Center. UK students and others interested in the subject are encouraged to attend the free event.

"The purpose of this debate is to make students more aware of the rationale behind the 21 age limit as well as the basis behind the proposition to lower the age limit," said Andrew Smith, director of the Alcohol and Health Education Office in the Division of Student Affairs.

"This is a topic where many people sit on the fence.  I believe this debate will give those on the fence a chance to make an informed decision regarding which side of the debate they choose.  Hopefully, this debate will also help educate those who have chosen a side solely based on a knee-jerk reaction," he said.

Input from those attending the debate is greatly encouraged. Microphones will be available to the audience to facilitate a free exchange of questions, ideas and opinions.

"I believe that most people assume that all college students believe the drinking age should be lowered, but in all actuality the ratio is probably closer to even," said Smith.

Smith said he hoped students will develop a knowledge-based opinion on this "hot-button issue."

"I don’t necessarily want students to think what I think.  I just want them to make informed decisions," he said.