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Debate on drinking age at Bridgewater College

James C. Fell and Barrett Seaman will debate “The Drinking Age” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15, in Cole Hall at Bridgewater College.

In 1984, a national drinking age of 21 was established. Does the 21 and older drinking age really discourage underage drinking, or merely drive it underground, and result in riskier and more dangerous behavior?

During the debate, Fell and Seaman will discuss their views, show videos and argue the merits of each side in a format that allows for audience participation and questions.

Fell is a senior program director with the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE) in Calverton, Md. He is currently involved in projects evaluating the effectiveness of traffic safety enforcement programs to reduce impaired driving and the role of Impaired Driving Task Forces.

Fell served on the national board of directors for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) from 1999-2006. He has over 40 years of traffic safety and alcohol research experience, and has authored over 100 scientific publications in the areas of highway safety, alcohol impairment and human factors research. Fell believes that lowering the drinking age will lead to increases in alcoholism, highway fatalities and alcohol-influenced violence.

Seaman spent 30 years as a correspondent and editor for Time magazine before retiring in 2001. His book, Binge: Campus Life in an Age of Disconnection and Excess, is the product of two years of reporting on 12 different college and university campuses and offers a view of how students at some of the country’s best institutions conduct their daily lives.

He is a member of the board of directors of Choose Responsibility, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the climate in which young Americans are exposed to alcohol and which specifically calls for a reassessment of the federally-mandated minimum 21-year-old drinking age.

The debate is sponsored by Anna B. Mow Endowed Lecture Series and is open to the public at no charge.


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