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Richson: College socialization important

BY BRIANNE RICHSON | MAY 08, 2013 5:00 AM

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People on both sides of the 21-only ordinance are probably tired of reading about the back-and-forth argument its measures have incited. Popular bars Martinis and Union are the latest downtown spots to take another stab at repealing the ordinance.

Perhaps a majority of the students currently at Iowa don’t really have a concept of what Iowa City nightlife was like prior to the ordinance — it was initially passed in June 2010. People say the culture has changed, for better or for worse, depending on whom you ask.

Regardless of whether limiting students’ access to downtown has lessened drinking or not, the 21-ordinance is problematic when looked at from the perspective that age is just a number, with college being a place where people of a five- to six-year age difference seamlessly intermingle.

No one is asking for the drinking age to be lowered, because that simply wouldn’t be reasonable, and nobody is asking for officials to turn the other way when a 19-year-old is holding a drink at Brothers on a Friday night. When it comes down to it, we probably all just want to be able to hang out with our 21-year-old friends past 10 p.m.

If you get a ticket, everyone knows that’s on you. We are sent to college under the assumption that we are capable of living away from home and making our own decisions, as dorm or apartment life would reflect.

We are also sent to college under the assumption that we will meet new people and choose our friends wisely. The 21-ordinance is a threat to this trust and to a key element of college socialization.

No one says that you have to have a drink in your hand if you choose to go downtown. Everyone knows that Union is basically like an amped-up middle school dance, so clearly there is more of a draw to going downtown than solely alcohol.

Most of us probably haven’t had a 10 p.m. curfew since seventh grade, so this is a major aspect of the ordinance that needs to be considered for those of us who are the last in our posse to not be 21.


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