Even though several college presidents are calling for the legal drinking age to be lowered from 21 to 18, locally, colleges are taking a little more cautious approach.
At the State University at Fredonia, Michael Barone, public relations director, said the college would not sign the petition in favor of lowering the drinking age.
''The rationale behind that is we feel that it would not make sense for our particular college and our particular community ... to participate in that,'' Barone said. ''(The College Council) collectively agreed it's just not in line with the campus' thoughts and ideas on the matter to support it at this time.''
Barone said SUNY Fredonia decided to not sign the petition after going through research on the topic.
''We've seen studies and results that show drunk-driving arrests and accidents are down, and we do feel it is part of the college's responsibility to help enforce those laws,'' he said.
Some college presidents believe lowering the age will alleviate some of the issues related to the consumption of alcohol, including binge and excessive drinking. Supporters of the idea include the presidents of private universities such as Duke, Dartmouth and Johns Hopkins. Public schools showing support including Ohio State and the University of Maryland.
''I'm really mixed on the issue,'' said Greg DeCinque, Jamestown Community College president. ''I think it's always appropriate to discuss issues. I certainly am not opposed to discussing the issue, but I'm not convinced that that addresses the issue of excessive and binge drinking, and that to me seems to be the issue.''
However, DeCinque can see where the supporters of the idea are coming from. He said he understands those who say if an individual is old enough to join the military and vote, they should be able to drink legally.
''Again, I think the real issue is the issue of excessive and binge drinking and the misuse of alcohol and other substances by any age,'' DeCinque. ''It's certainly true that when you visit many college campuses ... (there's) just over the top, out-of-control use of alcohol.''
DeCinque said JCC tries to educate its students on alcohol, including providing information in the student handbook and having counselors available to help students with issues.
''I'm not convinced at this point lowering the age is going to solve the problem,'' he said.
Patricia Z. Munson, executive director of the Chautauqua Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Council executive director, also said she was not supportive of lowering the age.
''Our reaction at CASAC as well as the rest of the prevention and treatment providers who deal with adolescents and alcohol issues is that the drinking age at 21 is the best possible decision that we have made in a long time regarding this,'' she said.