September 23, 2009 — In conjunction with the observance of National GORDIEday and National Hazing Prevention Week, the University of Virginia will host a free, public showing of the film "HAZE" Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in Wilson Hall, room 402.
As part of the observance, the University is displaying 1,700 "Gordie awareness flags" on the lawn of Peabody Hall to bring attention to the approximately 1,700 alcohol-related deaths annually on U.S. campuses.
"HAZE" is a full-length documentary that examines the college drinking culture in America, including the death of freshman Gordie Bailey, who died of alcohol poisoning following a fraternity initiation at the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2004. The flag display includes posters listing the signs of alcohol poisoning and what to do in the event of an alcohol emergency. Students are also reminded that the U.Va. hospital emergency department does not contact the police, University officials or parents when students are treated for alcohol-related ailments.
"As peer educators, we are dedicated to addressing the issues of alcohol and drug abuse at the University of Virginia," said Shana Wrobel, chairwoman of the University's student-run Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Team, or ADAPT. "We hope that the free screening of 'HAZE' and the flag display will aid in our mission to promote awareness, provide educational outreach, and serve as accessible resources for other students on the dangers of alcohol misuse."
The programs are co-sponsored by the ADAPT peer educators, the Inter-Fraternity Council, the Inter-Sorority Council, the Life Skills Office in the Department of Athletics, the Center for Alcohol and Substance Abuse Education, and the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life.
The goal of National GORDIEday is twofold: to educate and empower university communities and individuals and encourage them to make responsible and healthy choices about alcohol, and to emphasize the need for students to call for help for intoxicated friends.
U.Va. is one of 135 institutions and organizations hosting events in recognition of GORDIEday this year. For information on the GORDIE Foundation, visit www.gordie.org. For information on National Hazing Prevention Week, visit www.HazingPrevention.org.
For information on the "HAZE" screening at U.Va., contact Wrobel at 571-246-3728.
After three weeks at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Gordie and 26 of his Chi Psi fraternity pledge brothers, 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. They were told, "no one is leaving here until these are gone."
The task was accomplished in 30 minutes, with Gordie – a 250-pound lacrosse and football player – having consumed far more than his share to help his fellow pledges who could not drink as much.
When the group returned to the fraternity house, Gordie was visibly intoxicated and did not drink any more. At approximately 11 p.m., he was placed on a couch in the house's library to "sleep it off."
During the course of the evening, fraternity members found Gordie lying unconscious in the library. Rather than check on his vital signs, they instead used permanent markers to scrawl racial slurs and other demeaning sayings and drawing on all parts of his body. The next morning, Gordie was discovered dead, face-down on the floor. No one had called for help.