A student board, whose recommendations “weigh heavily” with the university, said Friday that Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s university recognition should be revoked for violating Greek Life’s no-alcohol policy.
The decision came after the Greek Board of Standards and Values Alignment heard accusations Thursday night that an underage freshman girl overdosed on alcohol at the SAE house.
A board official said the fraternity accepted responsibility for nine of the 10 charges against it.
The university will give SAE until Friday to appeal the recommendation. Chris Smith, president of the CSU chapter of SAE, said the fraternity will appeal, but declined further comment.
The chapter was “already on close-watch status because of a history of alcohol incidents,” said Dana Alexander, the vice president of Standards and Values Alignment on the Panhellenic Council.
She could not provide details, but said the previous violations occurred last semester.
CSU’s fraternities and sororities became “dry” in 2004 following the alcohol-poisoning death of sophomore Samantha Spady.
“I think it’s really important that we were able to hear this case because it is a peer-to-peer hearing,” Alexander said. “The decision was made because their behavior was not representative of Greek Life at CSU.”
The fraternity has brought the university and Greek Life “bad press” and “a poor image,” according to a letter sent from Alexander to SAE, explaining why the recommendation was made.
In addition to the university investigation, the national chapter of SAE is conducting its own inquiry into the incident. Brandon Weghorst, a spokesman for the national chapter, said Sunday the investigation is still ongoing.
Only one SAE chapter has national recognition and not the university’s, Weghorst said.
“We view (the Greek system) as a partnership between the university and the fraternity,” he said. “If there’s any hostility or issues that need to be addressed, we will take it into consideration heavily.”
The SAE national chapter’s governing directors will meet this coming weekend, and the fate of the CSU chapter will be discussed, Weghorst said.
The board has a rotating panel of seven voting members, and by a 6-1 vote, SAE was found responsible for the nine charges that stemmed from violating the university’s and Greek Life’s no-alcohol policy.
The only charge that SAE contested, and wasn’t held responsible for, was for allegedly violating the section of the CSU Student Conduct Code prohibiting, “Abusive conduct, including physical abuse, verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, coercion and/or conduct which threatens or endangers the physical or psychological health, safety, or welfare of one’s self, another individual or a group of individuals.”
Early Sept. 16, a 17-year-old CSU freshman was rushed to the hospital after downing 12 shots of hard liquor in the SAE house within about a half hour, according to an internal university report obtained by the Collegian.
“She was described as having become limp, unconscious, eyes rolled back in her head, with shallow, irregular breathing,” the report stated. “All parties interviewed confirmed that they were told by emergency personnel and ER staff that without medical intervention she would likely have died.”
University officials lauded the victim’s friends for ultimately deciding to alert authorities.
“Apparently there was initially some debate about whether or not to call for help because of the concern that they would get in trouble or get the fraternity in trouble,” the report said. “As it became apparent that she was not going to continue breathing on her own, the decision was made to call the RA.”
The girl spent about seven hours in the emergency room and another 12 to 14 hours in detox before being released to her mother, according to the report.
Several fraternities and sororities last year were disciplined – and one, Pi Kappa Alpha, was booted – after a series of so-called rise-and-ralph parties, where members would drink until they vomited. SAE was not involved. In 2004, the Sigma Pi fraternity, where sophomore Samantha Spady died of alcohol poisoning, was shut down.
News managing editor Vimal Patel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.