The NoZe Brotherhood

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The NoZe Brotherhood is a collegiate secret society at Baylor University. Founded in Brooks Hall in 1924, the society was originally formed as a joke regarding Leonard Shoaf, a freshman with a large nose. Shoaf's nose was of "such great length and breadth of nostril"[1] that his friends proclaimed they could "form a club around it".[2]

The society became a popular, irreverent campus fixture in the years that followed, poking fun at its rivals, the Baylor University Chamber of Commerce, appearing in Baylor's yearbook, the Round-Up, and writing the occasional humorous piece for the yearbook or Baylor's newspaper, The Lariat. Targets of the NoZe Brothers' mirth included Baylor's faculty, administration, the Southern Baptist Convention, various student organizations, and themselves. From the society's inception in the 1920s through to the early 1960s, members were open about their participation, but they now keep their identities secret.

The NoZe Brotherhood, circa 2002


The society has always venerated its history and traditions through the observance of several key festivals and holidays. The oldest, the Pink Tea, has been held annually since 1929.[3] Held in the spring, the event affords members the opportunity to hear the "State of the Onion" address by the Lorde Mayor, celebrate the history of the society, and hear one or more addresses by guest speakers (usually Baylor faculty) and neophyte members.

In 1954, the society began publishing its own satirical newspaper, The Rope (spoofing the campus newspaper The Lariat),[3] taking aim at Baylor University and the Baptist Church, employing satire and absurdity, and developing a unique writing style known as "NoZe prose".

NoZe Brothers who have graduated are known as "Exiles." They stay in touch via the Facebook group "NoZe Brotherhood Exiles" (which requires approval to join).


In the mid-1960s, the society's relationship with Baylor's administration became more precarious, due primarily to acts of vandalism: the repeated painting of a campus bridge in the traditional NoZe color of pink, followed by an arson attack on the bridge, the details of which are disputed.[4]

The society went underground, disguising members' identities with rubber noses and wigs. For some unknown reason, the Brothers changed the spelling from "nose" to "NoZe" and adopted a guerrilla profile, crashing various campus events such as "Sing", Chapel, and Homecoming parades. The Rope continues to write about Baylor University and Baptist politics using satire and absurdity. However, over the last forty years the society has alternated between being officially allowed on campus and being banned. Currently the society is in the good graces of the Baylor Administration.[5]


Key figures in the NoZe Brotherhood include the Lorde Mayor, bearer of the Enlightening Rod of Elmo, the Cunning Linguist, who edits the Rope, and the Shekel Keeper, who tries to keep graft to a minimum so that there will be funds available after publication costs to pay for parties. The Bored of Graft consists of past Lordes Mayor, who are available to give advice to the current Lorde Mayor.

The society is liberal in handing out awards, titles, and various sobriquets; in fact, if a NoZeman feels that his fellow members have not seen fit to bestow sufficient honors upon him, he is encouraged to come up with his own. NoZe honors typically begin with the prefix "Keko Keeper of...", the meaning of which is apparently lost to history.

In NoZe lore, there are four types of people in the world. Members are NoZe Brothers; non-members are "Infidels". "Fortunates" are infidels who have had sex with a NoZe Brother. "Exiles" are NoZe Brothers who have graduated or otherwise left the University.

The NoZe Brothers delight in praising the memory of Brother Long NoZe in prose and song with ditties such as "This Old God", "When the NoZe is Blown up Yonder", and "Rock Around the Cross". The traditional NoZe saga "The Cry of the Enormous Rabbit" is usually recited semiannually.

The society is based in Waco, Texas. It is forbidden for a NoZe Brother to reveal his identity to a non-member. Every semester, the Brotherhood holds UnRush, an opportunity for non-members to present themselves for consideration by the society. The NoZe will announce the time and place of UnRush in the first Rope of the semester, and invite candidates to submit a humorous, satirical, or absurdist paper of 10,365 words or less. During UnRush, the Lorde Mayor will prophesy to and harangue the attendant masses on some matter of topical interest.

The current U.S. Senator from Kentucky, Rand Paul, was a member, according to GQ magazine.[6][7]

Ornery brothers[edit]

Kinky Friedman, aka Bro. The Yellow NoZe of Texas.

An ornery brother is an honorary member of the society. Some include:

  • Bob Bullock — Former Lt. Governor of Texas
  • George W. Bush — 43rd President of the United States[8]
  • Bennet Cerf — "Bro. Board NoZe"; Noted Humorist [9]
  • John Dean — "Bro. Dean of Dirty Tricks"; White House counsel to Richard Nixon [10]
  • Kinky Friedman — "Bro. The Yellow NoZe of Texas"; Texas Gubernatorial Candidate/ Humorist [11]
  • Hayden Fry — "Bro. Crotch Grabber"; college football coach [12]
  • John Glenn — "Bro. GemiNoZe"; first American to orbit the Earth, former senator [13]
  • Billy Graham — "Bro. Cracker NoZe Graham"; evangelist [14]
  • Bob Hope — "Bro. SkiNoZe Hope"; comedian [3]
  • Leon Jaworski — "Bro. Water NoZe Jaworski"; Special Prosecutor during the Watergate Scandal [15]
  • John M. Lilley — "Bro. Easter NoZe"; 13th President of Baylor [16]
  • Dan Rather — "Bro. CBS Evening NoZe"; Former CBS news anchor [17]
  • Robert Sloan — "Bro. Liniment NoZe"; 12th President of Baylor [18]
  • William Underwood — "Bro. Pro BoNoZe"; President of Mercer University, a former interim Baylor president [19]
  • Kenneth Starr — "Bro. Non Hostis HumaNoZe Generis"; Independent Counsel whose investigation led to President Bill Clinton's impeachment,[20] past Baylor President
  • Robert Griffin III — "Bro. HeismaNoZe Trophy"; Baylor Quarterback and 77th recipient of the Heisman Trophy,[21]
  • 2011–12 Baylor Lady Bears basketball team — the entire team was inducted as "Bros. 40 and NoZe" following their undefeated national championship season

Pranks and disruptions[edit]

NoZe Glasses on Old Main


  1. ^ Wright, Norman S.(April 12, 1931). "Nose Brotherhood of the Universe, Unltd." The Dallas Morning News, feature page 5.
  2. ^ Matlock, Katy (March 31, 2006). "Nose remains campus tradition" The Lariat
  3. ^ a b c "A NoZe Primer" Baylor Magazine
  4. ^ Letters from Our Readers Baylor Magazine
  5. ^ Hensley, Amethyst (March 19, 2002). "NoZe Brotherhood plans campus return this week" The Lariat
  6. ^ "GQ Exclusive: Rand Paul's Kooky College Days (Hint: There's a Secret Society Involved): The Q: GQ". GQ. 2010-08-09. Retrieved 2010-10-19. 
  7. ^ "Rand Paul's college group mocked Christians - Ben Smith -". POLITICO. 2010-10-12. Retrieved 2010-10-19. 
  8. ^ Bush, George W. (May 16, 1998). "Baylor University Commencement Address." Speech presented at Baylor University, Waco, TX.
  9. ^ "Tweeking the Beek." Baylor Roundup - 1962, p. 25.
  10. ^ Allen, Laura (March 11, 1975). "Dean Blames Actions on Ambition" The Dallas Morning News, p. D1.
  11. ^ Woods, Tim (April 27, 2006). "Kinky comes to Baylor on campaign stop" Waco Tribune-Herald
  12. ^ Fry, Hayden. Hayden Fry: A High Porch Picnic. Champaign: Sports Publishing LLC, 2001.
  13. ^ "People: Lowell Thomas With the News". (Sept. 30, 1970). The Dallas Morning News, p. A3.
  14. ^ BGEA: Crusade Activities — Collection 17 archives at Wheaton College (search for NoZe)
  15. ^ Fiedler, Randy (July 7, 2005). "Jaworski Becomes a Noze". Retrieved February 18, 2006.
  16. ^ Matlock, Katy (March 31, 2006). " Nose Brothers celebrate 80th anniversary" The Lariat.
  17. ^ George, Ricky (November 8, 1995). "Name change highlights beginning years of newspaper" The Lariat.
  18. ^ Bro. Pater-NoZester (May/June 2003). "The NoZe Knows Which Way Is Up" Baylor Magazine.
  19. ^ Matlock, Katy (April 13, 2006). "Regents, NoZe, faculty honor Underwood with reception" The Lariat.
  20. ^ Woods, Tim (February 17, 2010). "Starr receives warm welcome at introduction to Baylor University community" Waco Tribune-Herald.
  21. ^ Alley, Tyler (January 14, 2012). "Fans shows support for Heisman-, bowl-winning football team" "The Lariat".
  22. ^ The NoZe Knows Which Way Is Up Baylor Magazine
  23. ^ Curran, Rob (April 2003). Texas Tidbits Texas Monthly.
  24. ^ Hill, Jerry. "BU Notebook" Waco Tribune-Herald
  25. ^ a b Ratcliff, Stephen (October 7, 1997). "NoZe Brotherhood continues tradition of satire despite underground limitations, university ban" The Lariat
  26. ^ Drake, John (April 12, 2000). "E-mail hoax" The Lariat
  27. ^ (April 18, 2002) "The NoZe Brothers resort to carrying their four-man bike." Retrieved May 3, 2006.
  28. ^ Picture (April 25, 2006). "Nobody NoZe who did this" The Lariat p. 3
  29. ^ (November 19, 1997). "Burning of prayer tent shows disrespect for student beliefs" The Lariat
  30. ^ Burton, Kyle. (April 1, 2004). "NoZe draws crowd on mall with stunt" The Lariat
  31. ^ Dean, Nick. (April 1, 2009). "Students fall for 'April FoolZe' prank" The Lariat


  • Long, William B. (1997). The Nose Brotherhood Knows: A Collection of Nothings and Non-Happenings, 1926–1965. Belton, Texas: Bear Hollow. 0-9617517-5-4.

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