September 5, 2004: Samantha Spady, a CSU sophomore and high school prom queen from Beatrice, Neb., dies from alcohol poisoning. She drank over five times the legal limit to drive after a night of partying during and after the Rocky Mountain Showdown. Spady ended her night at the Sigma Pi fraternity house where she was allowed to fall asleep alone in a seldom-used room. Her parents, Patti and Rick, have appeared on national TV shows advocating the dangers of binge drinking on college campuses and the culture of alcohol in universities across the country. Since her death, the ex-Sigma Pi fraternity brothers developed Ace of Spades, an organization that spread the warning signs of alcohol poisoning. The Spadys have also created the Sam Spady Foundation in remembrance of their daughter and to promote their cause.
September 9, 2004: After a CSU investigation of the Sigma Pi fraternity, university officials announce they have terminated Sigma Pi as a student organization with the cooperation of its national headquarters. Sigma Pi infractions included recent incidents of hosting unauthorized parties and serving alcohol at the fraternity house. The investigation also found the fraternity had served alcohol to minors, including Samantha Spady.
September 14, 2004: The alcohol vendor at Hughes Stadium taps a new contract allowing it to sell more potent alcohol at the event center. The new permit allowed the vendor to sell wine, hard liquor and beer with alcohol percentages over 3.2 percent.
September 19, 2004: CSU President Larry Penley suspends alcohol sales at Hughes Stadium for all football games for the next nine months. The decision to ban beer inside of Hughes came just a few days after it was announced that 5 percent alcohol by volume would replace the 3.2 percent alcohol previously sold at games.
September 30, 2004: The newly created Alcohol Task Force meets for the first time after President Penley appoints the task force to “look into binge drinking, underage drinking, fraternity and sorority systems and the overall culture of the institution as it relates to alcohol and substance abuse issues.” Colorado Lt. Gov. Jane Norton is chairwoman of the committee.
September 2005: The alcohol ban at Hughes Stadium is lifted after the Alcohol Task Force recommends ditching the outlaw while implementing new restrictions, such as enforcing new tailgating restrictions. The most prominent restriction is the wrist banding of everyone, age 21 and up, planning on consuming alcohol.
September 25, 2005: Members of the Timberline Church take over the defunct Sigma Pi fraternity house and turn the death of Samantha Spady into something more positive. The Light House allowed for a sober living place for dozens of ministry members and a safe house for intoxicated students coming home from bars and parties.
September 13, 2006: “Death by Alcohol: The Sam Spady Story” is the product of a Colorado freelance journalist and the Sam Spady Foundation. The one-time free screening was packed to a standing-room only crowd.
Staff writer James Baetke can be reached at email@example.com.