Sigma Alpha Epsilon — one of the largest fraternities in the United States — has banned pledging and initiation rituals for its chapters nationwide, Bloomberg News reports.
SAE has recently gained an unwelcome reputation as the “deadliest fraternity” in the country. There have been at least 10 deaths since 2006 linked to SAE events, according to Bloomberg — the most of any Greek organisation.
These changes imposed by the fraternity’s national organisation hopes to change that. As Bloomberg reports:
Under the new plan, SAE chapters will still recruit new members and extend them a “bid,” or invitation to join. Students accepting the bid will become full members almost immediately. All SAE members will be required to complete additional training, including alcohol education, during their college years.
The fraternity’s national organisation announced the changes in a statement on their website, as well as in a series of Q & A’s. You can read both in full here >>
One of the most telling responses came to a potential question about chapters that don’t want to change. In response, SAE wrote, “If we find that the chapter is treating its newest members as second-class citizens, the chapter will be closed.”
SAE also had an interesting answer as to their motivations for making what amounts to fairly drastic changes to the national organisation. Posing the question “Are you making this change as a result of bad publicity?,” they write:
The bad publicity Sigma Alpha Epsilon has received is challenging and regretful because we know that some of our groups have great new-member (pledge) programs and do the right thing. At the same time, we have experienced a number of incidents and deaths, events with consequences that have never been consistent with our membership experience. Furthermore, we have endured a painful number of chapter closings as a result of hazing. Research shows that hazing, which hides in the dark, causes members to lie. At the recent Eminent Archon Institute, our chapter leaders voiced their chief complaint: damage to our national reputation is making it difficult for them to operate.
But the attack on our image is not the sole motivating factor behind the changes. The Supreme Council believes the time is now to embrace change in the way our groups operate in order to ensure our future success. And now is the time to lead the way among Greek-letter organisations. As a result, we may very well turn bad publicity into a positive, proactive image. We are making this change because it’s the right thing to do and because we firmly believe in returning to what our Founding Fathers envisioned.
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