Sep 202004
 
Authors: Lila Hickey

Lynn Gordon Bailey Jr., a University of Colorado-Boulder

freshman, was found dead in CU’s Chi Psi fraternity house, 1080

14th St., last Friday, according to a statement by Chancellor

Richard Byyny.

Bailey, whose cause of death has not been released, was the

second student to be found dead in a Colorado fraternity house in

less than three weeks. Samantha Spady, a sophomore business major

at CSU, was found dead at the Sigma Pi fraternity house, 709 Wagner

Drive, on Sept. 5. Spady’s cause of death was determined to be

acute alcohol poisoning.

“At this point, we do not know the circumstances surrounding

this incident. In light of recent events in Colorado and around the

nation, we are, of course, concerned about any possibility of the

involvement of alcohol in this tragedy,” Byyny said in a Sept. 17

statement.

An investigation continues into the latest fraternity

incident.

“It’s under investigation by the city of Boulder Police

Department,” said CU spokesperson Pauline Hale. “We will wait to

see what we learn from the investigation.”

In a press release Thursday, CSU President Larry Penley

announced the members of a task force on alcohol and substance

abuse, chaired by Lieut. Gov. Jane Norton, to examine

alcohol-related issues such as binge drinking and underage

drinking.

Ray Baker, head of the Colorado Commission on Higher Education,

said the commission does not have any plans to create a task force

or committee in regards to the two recent deaths.

“I think President Penley has shown great leadership and I think

he will continue to do so,” Baker said. “It’s a great opportunity

to collect the necessary information and eliminate and minimize

these dangers.”

Baker said he did not think the task force would be expanded to

become a statewide program in light of Bailey’s death.

“I think (the task force) is a great start,” Baker said. “(But)

there’s no blueprint to follow for things like this.”

Amber O’Connor, communications specialist for Norton’s office,

said Penley has not talked about expanding the committee.

“We are hoping that whatever the task force comes up with will

be looked at nationwide,” O’Connor said. “As far as the actions of

the task force itself, it will stay concentrated on just CSU.”

The two student deaths, as well as two Fort Collins riots the

weekend before school started, have put Colorado universities in

the national spotlight.

“The rest of the nation will forget it in a week and we’ll still

be dealing with it,” said Associated Students of CSU President

Katie Clausen. “I think that definitely, Colorado’s going to be a

spot on the map now, and not in a positive way.”

Still, Baker said he does not believe heavy drinking problems

are the result of any one organization or environment.

“I don’t think it’s an issue for CSU and CU, I think it’s an

issue around the country,” he said.

In fact, approximately 1,400 students die each year in alcohol

related accidents, O’Connor said.

“It’s not just a Greek problem and it’s not just a college

problem. I don’t think it can be categorized as a problem at

universities,” she said. “If you categorize it only as a campus,

you’re going to be leaving out a big community of individuals that

are involved just as much.”

The real question, O’Connor said, is what social situations and

circumstances cause binge drinking.

Robert Maust, chairman of CU’s Standing Committee on Substance

Abuse, agreed. Although all freshmen at CU are required to undergo

a three-hour online alcohol education program, AlcoholEdu,

individual choices are ultimately the biggest determinant of

student behavior, Maust said.

Until the cause of death is determined, Maust said, no new

programs or initiatives can be created.

“I think any time that we experience a tragedy, we have to

pause, reflect and see what we can learn from it and how to make

(CU) a safer community,” Maust said.

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