The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024

Haze documentary shows cases alcohol abuse, hazing on college campuses

The first reaction was annoyance. It was 9 p.m. on a Thursday night. People had other things to do. How was this movie about hazing and alcohol different?

Students had other thoughts after the movie. They said it was “relatable.” “The information was good.” “It was balanced.”

Junior Clayton Milburn called it “inspirational.”

But while they think it might cut down on some of the more dangerous behaviors, they don’t think it will drastically change the party culture at SMU.

Students gathered by the flagpole on Thursday night to see a documentary focusing on alcohol abuse and hazing at college campuses. The Dean of Student Life office and the Gordie Foundation co-sponsored the screening of the documentary, entitled “Haze.”

The audience filled the space in front of Dallas Hall-most were part of the Panhellenic Community, which used the movie for its mandatory hazing education. Each chapter was required to have a certain percentage at the screening, and that number determined if the chapter was “here” or “not here,” according to Panhellenic President Sierra Sleeper.

The documentary uses 35 interviews with images from police files, campus parties, and emergency medical calls to “present an impressive case that it is time for leaders to wake up and attack this national health crisis that affects just about every campus in America,” according to the Gordie Foundation’s website.

The Gordie Foundation was created after the death of 18-year-old University of Colorado at Boulder student Lynn Gordon “Gordie” Bailey Jr. on Sept. 17, 2004. Bailey was found on the floor of the Chi Psi Fraternity house the night after bid night.

According to the Gordie Foundation’s website, “On the evening of Sept. 16th, Gordie and twenty-six other pledges dressed in coats and ties for “bid night”, were taken blindfolded to the Arapaho Roosevelt National Forest where they were “encouraged” to drink four “handles” (1.75 liter bottles) of whiskey and six (1.5 liter) bottles of wine around a bonfire in 30 minutes.”

The website goes on to say that a visibly intoxicated Bailey was placed on a couch to sleep off the alcohol. “Gordie was left to “sleep it off” for 10 hours before he was found dead the next morning, face down on the floor. No one had called for help.”

SMU health educator Megan Knapp says the documentary is a good way to get students started in conversations about alcohol abuse. “It’s a good way to get students involved in creating change.”

The documentary comes to SMU after three students died due to drugs and alcohol in 2006. Sophomore Jacob “Jake” Stiles, 20, was found in his room at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house on Dec. 2. He died from a mixture of fentanyl, cocaine and alcohol. Freshman Jordan Crist was found dead in a dorm room in Perkins Hall on May 2. The 19-year-old from Hinsdale, Ill. died as a result of alcohol poisoning. Crist’s blood alcohol level was five times the legal limit. Senior Meaghan Bosch, 21, was found dead on May 14 near Waco of an accidental overdose of cocaine, methamphetamine and oxycodone.

“Haze” emphasizes that colleges need a cultural change in order to prevent the nearly 1,700 student deaths that occur from alcohol-related emergencies each year. According to the Gordie Foundation’s website, “Our goal is to make high risk drinking socially unacceptable. In the process we will end alcohol poisoning, peer pressure and hazing.”

“The intent is to use real life footage to showcase the problems, and then present experts, on film, who can give an objective perspective on the severity of alcohol abuse and hazing in university settings,” Michael Lanahan, Executive Producer and Gordie Bailey’s stepfather, said.?”We want to use the film to prevent other tragic deaths like what happened to Gordie. We hope that this documentary will encourage our society to make the necessary changes for a safer environment on college campuses.”

More to Discover