this is a FYC paper waiting to happen

Today during orientation we were told to expect FYC papers on the new petition signed by over 100 university and college professors asking legislators to open up debate about lowering the drinking age. I’ve seen papers on lowering the drinking age before, but this opens up all new exigencies for the topic. I also read, via kairosnews, that Mothers Against Drunk Driving is upset with the petition:

MADD’s national president, Laura Dean-Mooney, even suggested, “Parents should think twice before sending their teens to these colleges or any others that have waved the white flag on underage and binge drinking policies.”

However:

Peyton R. Helm, president of Muhlenberg College in Allentown, called that response “absurd.”

“What this movement calls for is a national discussion,” he said. “It doesn’t recommend a policy.”

I always think it’s amazing that when someone asks for discussion, that others jump immediately to believing they are demanding policy change.

But, yeah, I’m pretty sure that this will elicit some FYC essays.

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5 Responses to this is a FYC paper waiting to happen

  1. k8 says:

    This almost makes me happy that I’m not teaching this fall. i

    In all seriousness, though, it would be better if could just develop a supreme deterrent to drinking while driving. Not sure what that would be – maybe stricter punishments, better public transportation, other stuff. I get why MADD’s upset, but they are really going after the wrong part of the problem.

    For the record, when you’re father’s a mortician you get some pretty specific arguments against drinking and driving.

  2. Michael says:

    Yeah, I pretty much agree with you. There definitely needs to be a better deterrent to drinking and driving.

    I think getting rid of cars might be a step. :) But that’s not really feasible.

  3. Dennis says:

    I like this idea:

    Perhaps they should consider my cunning plan to let 18 year olds have a drinking license or a driver’s license but not both, which would have the added benefit of helping the appeal of less car dependent locations.

    Found here:

    http://www.eschatonblog.com/2008_08_17_archive.html#5062282462074619740

    (Not formatted because I refuse to risk HTML without a preview button.)

  4. Sara Jameson says:

    Well, you know my tactic is to require a cause & effect paper, so if I were to even allow the topic (doubtful – because I encourage topics that would be written in another college class and where except maybe in philosophy or health class? would someone be assigned to write this?) I would be asking students to show the arguments about the effect (claims of fact) without making the (of course implied) claims of policy that we should/not allow this. The idea that we should reduce the age because everyone does it anyway sounds like the consensus genitum fallacy to me. I haven’t looked at the lineup on Oregon voter’s pamphlet, but I will certainly be using some of the topics in my WR 222 class. It’s part of my civic duty to educate new voters that the pamphlet exists and how to “read” it. Good luck on your FYC classes. I hope you tell us all about how they are similar and different from OSU – student body, class size, syllabus, schedule, textbooks, numbers of papers, etc. Please send all that!

  5. Michael says:

    Sara, I agree that the argument shouldn’t be to lower the age because everyone drinks anyway (which is fallacious logic and also simply not true; I didn’t drink until I was 21).

    However, I think the topic (in general) is acceptable, not because of its merit as a subject in other courses (though I see it as a feasible topic in philosophy, political science, public policy, public health, rhetoric, economics, and probably more), but because I see the goal of first year writing as helping students enter a writing public(s). This topic is hot in public, and students will care about it. Heck, I care about it. I think the law should be lowered as well. Even as a non-drinker, I would have argued for lowering the age when I was 19. And think of all the exigencies that exist for students around just this petition alone, and all the variety of strategies to enter public discourse on this topic. I think it’s rich.

    Will it lead to some banality? Of course. If my students choose to write on this, will I try to push them past the commonplace? Certainly.

    And yes, I think students here will be pretty different from OSU students. Already, I’ve been given the picture that they’re a bit more affluent and school-oriented.

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