The mother of a University of Colorado student, Gordie Bailey, who died of acute alcohol poisoning in September 2004 after a fraternity-initiation ritual, has settled her lawsuit with the fraternity. The settlement, which was reached just before the trial was to start last month, was reached with both the Chi Psi fraternity and the Alpha Psi Delta Corporation of Chi Psi, which owned the fraternity house in Boulder. The amount of the settlement is confidential.
Gordie Bailey died on the morning of September 17, 2004, of acute alcohol poisoning. At the time, his blood-alcohol level was 0.328%. The night before, he and 26 other Chi Psi fraternity pledges at CU were blindfolded and taken to a spot in the woods west of Boulder as part of an initiation ritual. During the ritual the pledges were forced to drink large amounts of whiskey and wine. After he was driven back to the fraternity, Gordie lapsed into unconsciousness. None of the fraternity members called 911 for hours afterward. Instead, some of the “brothers” scrawled vulgar phrases and drawings on his body.
A settlement was reached with several individual members of the fraternity about a year ago. Bruce Jones, a Denver lawyer, represented Gordie’s mother and did a very good job. He had this to say:
I think it is a good and appropriate settlement. There are a number of things the fraternity has agreed to do to help police drinking and avoid these types of things in the future by how they handled pledging and initiation events and the like. This settlement resulted in some agreements that I think will ultimately be of benefit to the fraternity and to future fraternity members because it could well result in saving lives. The fraternity has agreed to do a number of different things that will reduce the likelihood of a future death from alcohol poisoning like occurred with Gordie. From that standpoint, I’m very pleased with this outcome. The Lanahans have said on more than one occasion that the lawsuit wasn’t about money. And the agreement they ended up arriving at with the fraternities really reflects that was a truthful statement — that they wanted reform and change.
University officials across the land should take steps to control the activities of fraternities on their respective campuses. Parents of students must also get involved and make sure this happens. Activities such as those involved in the Colorado case can’t be tolerated. After all, we do live in a “civilized society!”
Source: The Denver Post
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