Hazing News

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Narrated by Robin Wright Penn, this Watt/Imagination and Gordie Foundation production offers a powerful look at hazing and alcohol-related deaths in America. L. Gordie Baliey died at the University of Colorado Chi Psi house. His story is an American tragedy retold all too often on American campuses as the toll of hazing and alcohol related deaths continues to climb.
2 Chi Psi members at CU sentenced for role in drinking deathRocky Mountain News
July 19, 2005

Guilty pleas in frat death
2 Chi Psi members at CU sentenced for role in drinking rite

By Berny Morson, Rocky Mountain News

BOULDER – The last of a dozen members of a defunct fraternity pleaded
guilty Monday in the alcohol-related death last fall of freshman Lynn
Gordon “Gordie” Bailey.

Daniel Adam Rosenberg, 21, and William Alexander Percy, 20, each pleaded
guilty to one count of providing alcohol to a minor, a class 2 misdemeanor.

District Judge Daniel Hale handed down identical deferred sentences.
Rosenberg and Percy must perform 100 hours of community service and take
part in a restorative justice program, a form of dialogue with community

The other 10 defendants received the same sentences during the spring.

They were part of the Chi Psi fraternity at the University of Colorado. Its
charter was yanked by the group’s national parent organization after
Bailey’s death.

Bailey, 18, died Sept. 17 after an initiation rite the night before in the
mountains west of Boulder. He had consumed between 31 and 36 ounces of
80-proof whiskey, prosecutors estimated. Bailey died at the fraternity
house after passing out.

The fraternity members avoided stiffer charges because it was not clear
anyone forced Bailey to drink.

Some of the other participants told Boulder police they did not drink and
were not pressured to do so.

“The fraternity culture itself must bear the lion’s share of blame for
this,” prosecutor John Pickering told Hale.

Hale called Bailey’s death “a terrible tragedy not unique to this
fraternity, this university or these young men.”

He said alcohol education programs must begin as early as junior high school.

Lawyers for both students said their clients were mortified by Bailey’s
death and have learned a lesson.

“This is the last the court will see of him,” said Keith Collins, Percy’s

Backgrounder II

Last guilty pleas in Bailey case

By MATT WILLIAMS Colorado Daily Staff Writer
Monday, July 18, 2005 8:52 PM MDT

Two former fraternity brothers charged with providing alcohol to the late Gordie Bailey pleaded guilty Monday.

Under terms of a plea agreement, former Chi Psi fraternity brothers William Percy, 20, and Daniel Rosenberg, 21, pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge of providing alcohol to a minor in the death of pledge Lynn Gordon “Gordie” Bailey Jr. last fall.

The pleas likely conclude prosecutions of the Chi Psi brothers.

The Hon. Daniel Hale sentenced Percy and Rosenberg each to a one-year deferred sentence, 100 hours of community service, a substance abuse evaluation and participation in a “restorative justice” program.

Ten other Chi Psi brothers received similar sentences during court dates in May and June.

On Sept. 16, Bailey attended a pledge party at a Gold Hill campsite, where he and 26 pledges consumed bottles of whiskey and wine during an initiation ritual.

Bailey was found dead the next morning in the Chi Psi house.

The Boulder County coroner ruled he died of acute alcohol poisoning

“This is a terribly difficult case for everyone involved . . . none more so than the Bailey family,” Percy’s attorney, Keith Collins, said while addressing the judge.

Collins said Percy has matured and that Bailey’s death had spurred self-reflection in his client.

Rosenberg said he is sorry for what happened and said he never would have imagined somebody would be harmed.

The final pleas in the case left Hale and Boulder chief deputy district attorney John Pickering to wonder if the University of Colorado and the fraternities have done enough during the 10 months since Bailey’s death to prevent other drinking deaths in the future.

“I think the University doesn’t have responsibility, and that’s puzzled me for years,” Hale said.

At the same time, Hale said, he recognizes that no one entity and no one university can effectively manage alcohol abuse by itself.

CU instituted a more stringent “two strikes” alcohol policy for its students last fall. And the University also is redesigning a mandatory Web-based alcohol education course for freshmen.

Dormitory residential advisors will be given two days of bystander training in August, among other efforts.

In January, the University also forced fraternities to defer the rush period for freshmen to the spring semester, in part to discourage the sort of binge- drinking rite that killed Bailey.

The fraternities rejected the requirement and are continuing forward without CU affiliation.

CU-Boulder Associate Vice Chancellor for Student affairs Elease Robbins said Gordie Bailey’s death is not the lone impetus for the alcohol-related programs the University has put in place over the last year.

“What we’ve done is ongoing, and the Bailey death is a punctuation,” she said.

Pickering said the CU fraternity culture must bear the lion’s share of blame for Bailey’s passing. Until the culture changes, the Boulder community remains at risk for more alcohol poisoning deaths, he said.

“There have been a lot of good things, but of course, there is always room for more work,” said Interfraternity Council External Vice President Brad Long. “It’s hard to change a culture overnight.”

Long said he is pleased with the efforts fraternity men and the community have put into education and outreach. He cited the “GORD” program -“Guidelines and Objectives of Responsible Drinking – that was founded after Bailey’s death as a program that is making a difference.

Chuck Stout, director of Boulder County Public Health, said while CU and fraternities have come together well after Bailey’s death, more can be done.

“Absolutely nothing can happen in terms of real behavior change without a far more intensive engagement of the student population,” Stout said.

He said there is plenty of data available on how much college students drink, but little empirical work on what motivates students to binge drink.

Why, for example, do students drink 21 shots rapid-fire on their twenty-first birthday?

Stout said if that question can be answered, alcohol poisoning deaths might be prevented.

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. 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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