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WVU President Gee: Lower the drinking age

WVU President Gordon Gee

West Virginia University President Gordon Gee, an outspoken critic of binge drinking on college campuses, wants the legal drinking age to be 18.

In an interview with The Dominion Post, Gee said if he were “king for a day,” he would change the laws that set the legal drinking age at 21. He also said doing so may fix binge-drinking problems at WVU.

“If we could work toward a responsible drinking age where the university would take much more responsibility, we could have a much better environment,” Gee told The Dominion Post.

Giving younger students the opportunity to legally drink may seem counterintuitive, but Gee and other supporters of lowering the drinking age say it would bring alcohol consumption among college students out in the open.

Binge drinking on college campuses has been tied to alcohol’s restricted access to minors, who often resort to going “underground” or have older students buy them drinks.

While underage drinking in other cultures around the world lacks the taboo allure it does in America because children often drink small amounts of wine at family meals, critics of lowering the drinking age are skeptical things would change. Some say it would just shift binge-drinking problems on college campuses to teens in high school.

This isn’t the first time Gee has suggested lowering the drinking age. Gee, a devout Mormon who claims to have never consumed alcohol, made similar comments in 2008 while he was president of Ohio State University.