Hazing News

Sept. 27: From the SMU Daily Campus Hazing awareness

SMU joins 94 other universities on Sept. 27 for National Gordie Day in order to promote alcohol awareness on college campuses and commemorate those who have died from alcohol abuse.

Sponsored by SMU’s Center for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and the student group, Circle of Trust, the day’s events include a candlelight vigil on Sept. 23 and a visually stimulating flood of 1,700 little green flags tacked into the grass in front of Dallas Hall. The flags represent the 1,700 students whose lives are lost to alcohol poisoning each year.

The Gordie Foundation was founded by Leslie and Michael Lanahan in memory of their son, 18-year-old Gordie Bailey. The University of Colorado freshman died of alcohol poisoning in September of 2004 after a fraternity initiation.

Statistics show that alcohol kills 6.5 more students annually than all other drugs combined, and 82 percent of hazing deaths involve alcohol. National Gordie Day will coincide with National Hazing Prevention Week this year in hopes that anti-hazing efforts will help provide a framework to discuss responsible alcohol use.

“When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless and intelligence cannot be applied,” said Megan Knapp, a health educator at SMU.

The mission of the Gordie Foundation “is to provide today’s young people with the skills to navigate the dangers of alcohol, binge drinking, peer pressure and hazing.”

In the past, SMU has collaborated with the Gordie Foundation on mirror clings hung in residence hall bathrooms that highlight the signs of alcohol poisoning. SMU also hosted National Gordie Day on campus last year.

By Hank Nuwer

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. In April of 2024, the Alaska Press Club awarded him first place in the Best Columnist division and Best Humorist, second place.

He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily-- and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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