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IFC expels Sigma Alpha Epsilon on hazing counts

BY SARAH ALSADEN
Daily Staff Reporter
Published March 17, 2011

Many fraternities were getting into the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day yesterday, but the University’s chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon wasn’t among them.

The fraternity has been officially removed from the Interfraternity Council — the student governing board that manages fraternities at the University — due to hazing allegations.

After a meeting on Wednesday, SAE was dismissed from the council, according to a March 16 IFC press release. The chapter had been suspended since Feb. 9, when the IFC started pursuing an investigation and a chapter review.

The fraternity was suspended by SAE nationals and the IFC, which previously voted to defer its review of SAE until after the national organization concluded its review and made a decision about the status of the fraternity.

The fraternity’s suspension came after an e-mail was sent to the University’s Office of Greek Life from a parent who disclosed various hazing activities — like forcing fraternity pledges to perform physical tests on while members shouted and threw tennis balls at them — her son was forced to endure as an SAE pledge.

On March 7, the national organization made public its choice to maintain the University chapter — though it will be kept under “colony status” starting in the fall, according to the press release.

Brandon Weghorst, associate executive director of communications for the SAE national organization, said the “colony” would consist of a group of young men who would have to follow certain criteria.

“The chapter is still suspended, but we’ve started work on a redevelopment plan with them,” Weghorst said. “The chapter will be classified as a colony, which means it will be like having a new group, and we will be starting from ground zero to make sure that they do everything that a chapter is supposed to do.”

Though current chapter members are under suspension for the term, they are expected to be a part of the colony in the fall semester, Weghorst said.

“They understand that they are going to be going through the redevelopment with us,” he said.

For the time being, the brothers are still suspended, Weghorst said.

“Right now the chapter remains under suspension, which means they have to halt activities until this fall when we start on the redevelopment plan,” he said.

The fraternity may be able to get its regular status back next year, according to the IFC press release.

“Pending observance of guidelines set forth by the review, the chapter will have the ability to regain full status after at least a year of colony status,” the press release states.

Chris Haughee, assistant director of the University’s Office of Greek Life, wrote in an e-mail interview that the University is pursuing disciplinary action against members of the fraternity.

“University disciplinary processes have been initiated seeking both group and individual accountability,” Haughee wrote.

The Office of Greek Life and the University have a zero-tolerance policy for hazing, according to the IFC press release.