(March 30, 2006)—Baylor’s NoZe Brotherhood, which has amused, confused, confounded and sometimes frustrated the university, celebrates its 80th anniversary Thursday with a campus parade and a Pink Tea, at which the school’s new president, John M. Lilley, will be inducted.
The parade begins at 10:45 a.m. Thursday at the Ferrell Center and will end at the Bill Daniel Student Center, where the brothers will dedicate an endowed scholarship plaque featuring the group’s motto, “The Nose Knows Knolege Kounts.”
Lilley will be inducted during the annual Pink Tea, a formal dinner that begins with dessert and ends with salad.
The brotherhood apparently started the celebration early.
A check of the NoZe Web Site Thursday revealed a page resembling the site of the Baylor student newspaper, the Lariat, featuring such headlines as “Lilley Resigns Amidst Scandal” and “Top Story Seems Extremely Unimportant.”
The costumed NoZe brothers are descendants of the original members who formed the organization in 1926.
Honorary members over the years include comedian Bob Hope, Rev. Billy Graham and comedian Bill Cosby, but the NoZe has enjoyed a relationship with the university that hasn’t always been cordial.
In 1965, the brotherhood was suspended after a wooden bridge over Waco Creek burned down.
The bridge was the focus of an ongoing feud between the NoZe and the Baylor Chamber of Commerce, which was responsible for maintaining the bridge.
Chamber members painted it white. NoZe brothers painted it pink.
According to a short history published by Baylor Magazine, the color-war came to a head when a spark from a lit cigar ignited paint fumes and caused the fire.
After the incident the brothers changed the name of the organization from the original Nose Brotherhood to NoZe, and began wearing costumes, which they call “undress” in order to hide their identities.
In the 1970s, their newspaper, “The Rope,” began to publish more controversial stories, which didn’t always sit well with administrators and alumni.
A particularly memorable homecoming edition, which looked almost exactly like the student newspaper, proclaimed that the university had been sold, to the surprise of some returning alumni who evidently thought the paper and the story were legitimate.
The group was suspended again in 1978 for being “lewd, crude and grossly sacrilegious,” which was a description that could have been interpreted as high praise for a group devoted to lampooning the university.
Brothers continued to make appearances throughout the 70s and 80s, just often enough to nettle administrators.
In 1999 they landed in hot water again over an article in “The Rope” about an African-American studies program that some found racially insensitive.
The NoZe issued an apology, but administrators again decided to order the group off campus.
The NoZe remained in exile for three years, but returned to campus in 2002, after agreeing to accept certain restrictions and to take more responsibility for members’ actions.
Evidently the group isn’t chafing under the rules, however.
Last August, the NoZe were forced to reimburse the university for replacing toilet seats from restrooms in the university’s new multi-million dollar Sciences Building and screwing them onto distribution stands for “The Lariat.”