Sticking their NoZe in Baylor Affairs

Circa 1941, the NoZe Brothers strike a pose. Notice the portrait of Brother Long Nose Shoaf, the first President of the club. (Courtesy Baylor University Blogs)

By Emily Cousins | Staff Writer

Nobody NoZe exactly when the NoZe Brotherhood — founded as the Nose Brotherhood — began, but the groups’ origin story is wild and mysterious.

Robert Darden, professor of journalism, public relations and new media and rumored former NoZe Brother, said a group of friends living in Brooks Hall began the NoZe Brothers.

“There was a group of guys … that for some reason decided that a gentleman named Shoaf … had a particularly long nose,” Darden said. “And they teased him mercilessly about it.”

Another rumored former member and Baylor alumnus, Thomas Ball, class of ‘79, said the group might have been founded in 1926.

“Friends sitting around a room in Brooks Hall, someone said, ‘Shoaf, we could found a student organization on your nose.’ After Shoaf retired upstairs, the joke picked up details and took on a life of its own,” Ball said.

Ball said Shoaf’s friends ran up the stairs to tell him they had created the NoZe Brotherhood and he was the first president.

“Shoaf responded with his immortal abdication speech that has echoed down the halls of Brotherhood lore: ‘Get out of my room, you satchel-assed sons of bitches!’” Ball said.

Today the NoZe Brothers are still an active group on campus, and they even stay in touch after graduation. Baylor alumnus David Schleicher, class of ‘89, said he runs the Facebook group for former members.

“On [the] Facebook closed group, we have somewhere between 10 and 30,000 members,” Schleicher said.

Darden said he used to be the faculty adviser to the NoZe Brothers. They used to show him The Rope the night before it was published to check it over.

The Rope is a satirical magazine that makes commentary on the administration, faculty, students and religion when they want to poke fun or make a statement about hypocrisy, Darden said.

“Sources indicate that last Thursday, sophomore Marcus Flounder broke up with his girlfriend, Iynglish Major, at 8th St Common Grounds. Citing his faith and devilish charm a wench could cast upon a good boy, Flounder suggested that Jesus was behind the reason for their separation,” is just one example from The Rope.

Beyond The Rope, the NoZe Brothers are known for doing pranks on campus.

“They hired an out-of-town realtor and put Pat Neff Hall on the real estate market and bought a big billboard and put it on the outside of Pat Neff Hall,” Darden said. “And it was placed in such a way that Dr. Reynolds [Baylor president, 1981-1995] couldn’t see it because he parked on one side of the building, but the sign faced the other way, on the other side. And they were perplexed for weeks as all these calls came in with people trying to buy Pat Neff at this great price.”

Today, the NoZe Brothers aren’t as active, Darden said.

“I just haven’t seen as much of them and the humor, and The Rope’s I have seen are more general,” Darden said. “At their peak, they’re talking about specific administrators and specific faculty members and specific schools.”

Even though President Linda Livingstone doesn’t have the same public persona as former President Ken Starr, Darden said there are still things on campus to criticize, even if they’re harder to find.

“They use humor and satire to hold a mirror before the evangelical movement and church and college when they’re working on all cylinders,” Darden said. “They’re the loyal opposition — the little wasps that say, ‘Just because we’ve always done it this way, doesn’t mean it’s right.’ Historically, some of the smartest people at Baylor would find their way to the NoZe to use their talents for serious purposes. It would always be couched in humor.”