Friday, September 15, 2006

Underage, Under the Gun?

In today's NY Sun the paper reports on a new underage drinking initiative being sponsored by NYU. The program is looking to involve students, neighborhood residents and lawmakers in is pilot program. As the Sun says, the program is designed "to smooth relations between residents and students, and draws largely from safety concerns."

All of which drew the support of the nightlife folks who have been clamoring for a widening of the scope of stakeholders in the fight to control the underage drinking epidemic. Certainly the city's universities have a strong stake in insuring the safety of their students. As NYU's Alicia Hurley told the paper, "As a university, we feel particularly that we have to make sure our students are safe and they are acting in ways that will improve their safety."

Ah, But what if they don't heed the message? As student president Meredith Dolgin said, "People are still going to drink, and that's a fact of college." Which means that an exclusively hearts and minds approach may not be enough. AS NYNA's Rob Bookman points out, "It would be a great idea...but it needs to be more than wishful thinking."

This strongly suggests that an enforcement piece is definitely needed so that young people get the message that what they're doing is against the law and if they try to use fraudulent identification to get into a bar or club, and get caught, they will face serious legal consequences. The onus can't be solely on the business owner.