Symposium Kicks Off with ‘Spirited Discussion of Alcohol’

Symposium Kicks Off with ‘Spirited Discussion of Alcohol’

9/11/19 ASHLAND, Ohio – Organized by the Ashland University College of Arts & Sciences, the biennial Symposium Against Indifference begins the 2019-2020 theme of “Liberty and Responsibility” with a multi-faceted event titled "Demon Rum: A Spirited Discussion of Alcohol."

Scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 18, in the Alumni Room of the Myers Convocation Center, the free, public event, which is organized in partnership with the Student Life and Fraternity and Sorority Life offices, will reflect on the ratification and appeal of the 18th Amendment prohibiting liquor in the United States as well as exploring lessons this episode holds for us today.

Ashland University history and philosophy faculty members and student organizations will address the constant and unavoidable tension between liberty and responsibility on this legislation. 

The evening will begin at 6 p.m. with a Mocktail Mix-Off. Several student organizations will compete to create healthy, fun, non-alcoholic drink alternatives. Guest judges for the Mix-Off include AU Campus Wellness Director Deborah Sullivan, Ashland City Mayor Matt Miller and AU Student Senate President Sabrina Maristella. The winners of the Mix-Off will be announced at the conclusion of the event. Everyone attending the event is encouraged to visit each organization’s table to sample their creation prior to the "Spirited Discussion," which begins at 7 p.m. 

At 7 p.m., Dr. John Moser, professor of History, and Dr. Louis Mancha, associate professor of Philosophy, will take the podium to begin the Spirited Discussion of Alcohol. Their portion of the program will address the United States’ boldest act of social engineering in the nation’s history — the prohibition of the manufacture, sale or transport of all “intoxicating liquors.” For 13 years, the country was officially “dry.” Why did the country embrace Prohibition? What were its effects, and why was it ultimately repealed? What lessons does this episode hold for us today? How is alcohol treated on campus? How does it affect the local economy? 

Immediately following Dr. Moser and Mancha's presentation, student representatives from various campus organizations including the College Democrats, College Republicans, Young Americans for Liberty, and Fraternity & Sorority Life will offer their response, which will be followed by a question-and-answer session with the audience. 

The College of Arts and Sciences at Ashland University inaugurated the Symposium Against Indifference in 2001 as a biennial series of events and lectures dedicated to overcoming apathy in the face of human concerns by raising awareness and promoting compassionate engagement. The Symposium seeks to challenge the University community — as well as the wider Ashland community — toward a deeper understanding of difficult issues and toward creative personal and corporate responses. Symposium themes from previous years include the Holocaust, human nature, terrorism, the promises and perils of technology, inquiry into what makes a hero, against global indifference, engaging in Latin America and the Caribbean, environmental sustainability and building bridges through dialogue.

For more information about the Symposium Against Indifference, visit or contact Tricia Applegate, Coordinator of CAS Communications at or 419.289.5950.

Ashland University is a mid-sized, comprehensive private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Religiously affiliated with the Brethren Church, Ashland University ( deeply values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###