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Keene State Forum: Why 21? Is It Time to Debate the Minimum Drinking Age?

John McCardell
John McCardell

KEENE, N.H. 9/25/08 - John McCardell, president emeritus of Middlebury College and organizer of the Amethyst Initiative, will speak at Keene State College on Tuesday, September 30, at Keene State College’s forum “Why 21? Is It Time to Debate the Minimum Drinking Age?”

The forum will start at 6 p.m. in the Mabel Brown Room, Young Student Center, and the community is encouraged to attend and participate. Also speaking will be Chuck Weed, KSC political science professor and NH state legislator. Daniel Saucier, KSC Student Body president, and Geoff Ness, KSC Student Assembly chair, will moderate.

This summer, 129 college and university chancellors and presidents signed the Amethyst Initiative, which states that there is a culture of dangerous binge drinking on many campuses and that the problem of irresponsible drinking by young people continues despite the minimum legal drinking age of 21. The initiative calls for an exploration of the consequences of current alcohol policies and to invite new ideas on how best to prepare young adults to make responsible decisions about alcohol use.

Keene State College President Helen Giles-Gee did not sign the statement but called for a campus-wide forum to discuss the issue. “The College believes in a philosophy of liberal education that develops character as well as learning,” Giles-Gee said. “Students demonstrate character when they behave responsibly and make good judgments, and one of the tenets of character building is to provide students with enough information so that they can make good judgments.”

McCardell is also founder of Choose Responsibility, a nonprofit organization founded to stimulate public discussion about the presence of alcohol in American culture and to consider policies encouraging young adults to make mature decisions about the place of alcohol in their lives (

For more information on the Amethyst Initiative, visit

Chuck Weed came to Keene State 36 years ago after teaching and coaching middle- and high-school students. He has represented Cheshire County in the New Hampshire House of Representatives for eight years.

For more information on the forum contact Dr. Andrew Robinson at 603-358-2107,

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