Student-athletes, greeks watch hazing documentary

National Hazing Prevention Week was two weeks ago, but it was this week that student-athletes and members of the greek community learned about the dangers of hazing and binge drinking, when they watched the documentary âÄúHaze.âÄù The documentary, which focuses on Gordie Bailey , a student at Colorado University at Boulder who died in 2004 from alcohol poisoning as part of fraternity hazing, was shown to students Tuesday through Friday at the Bierman Field Athletic Building . The athletic department and greek organizations have been partnering for informative events on National Hazing Prevention Week since the weekâÄôs conception in 2005. Environmental science senior Megan Hines saw the documentary on Wednesday night and said it was powerful because a lot of students can relate to what it covered. Hines was at a similar event last year and said this documentary was more successful. âÄúI went to the hazing prevention week speaker last year and I think this was a lot more effective,âÄù Hines said. âÄúWatching this personâÄôs personal story and their family and how they were affected, it was very powerful.âÄù The movie was suggested to Chad Ellsworth , coordinator at the Office for Fraternity and Sorority Life, by Dana Farley , associate program director at Boynton Health Services . Ellsworth watched the movie with Anissa Lightner , assistant director of student athlete welfare, and they decided to show it this year for National Hazing Prevention Week, but they couldnâÄôt get a copy until this week. Ellsworth said the movie is intense, but has a good message. Attending a showing of the documentary was not mandatory for greeks, but students who attended could receive credit toward the greek awards given during the spring. Ellsworth said working with the athletics department was a plus. âÄúTo be able to cooperate with athletics as two very visible groups of students, it makes it feel like one group isnâÄôt being targeted or singled out on the subject, but rather itâÄôs something we can work together on,âÄù Ellsworth said. Lightner said athletics teams have to choose two programs each year to count as their personal development program. Teams that chose hazing as a program were required to see a screening of the documentary. Lightner said she hoped the documentary made student athletes think about their choices. âÄúWe want people to be able to have their eyes open to the fact that this is happening across the country,âÄù Lightner said. âÄúThis is not something we want to have happen at the University of Minnesota.âÄù Pete Schuermann , 43, directed the documentary, which he started shooting on Sept. 17, 2006, two years to the day after BaileyâÄôs death. Schuermann said âÄúHazeâÄù took him about two years to complete, and now he is getting requests to show the film and speak on campuses across the country. Schuermann said he has gotten positive feedback about the film. He also said greeks are taking steps to end hazing. âÄúThe greek system right now, quite rightly so, is spending a lot of time trying to eliminate hazing at a lot of chapters on a lot of campuses,âÄù Schuermann said. He said the documentary is more about alcohol abuse than hazing, but that sometimes they are one in the same. âÄúI donâÄôt think the movie was about hazing specifically,âÄù he said. âÄúI think itâÄôs about the alcohol situation in general and I think to a large degree the peer pressure that a lot of people feel is a form of hazing when you really define what hazing is all about.âÄù Schuermann stressed that he doesnâÄôt want people to think this only happens at fraternities, which would be mistaken.