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President Christ's Reasons for Signing the Amethyst Initiative

President Christ is among the 129 chancellors and presidents of U.S. colleges and universities who recently signed the Amethyst Initiative. Launched in July 2008, the Initiative supports informed public debate on the 21-year-old drinking age. Other signatories include Mount Holyoke College President Joanne Creighton and Hampshire College President Ralph Hexter. About her decision to sign the Amethyst Initiative, President Christ made the following comments:

"The Amethyst Initiative calls for a serious, sustained debate about the effect of the twenty-one year-old drinking age and the best ways to prepare young adults to make responsible decisions about alcohol. Signing the statement commits the presidents to initiate civil, informed, and dispassionate discussions of the issue, weighing all evidence, excluding no credible participants, and considering all policy alternatives. I take no position at all on what the drinking age should be.

"Like many of the presidents who signed the Amethyst Initiative, I have been
motivated by alarm about the abuse of alcohol on college campuses -- particularly binge drinking and clandestine drinking. We are asking the question whether the 21-year-old drinking age is effective in limiting alcohol abuse or whether it helps contribute to a culture of secret, binge drinking."

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