Give SAE a chance

Sep 162007
Authors: Sean Reed

Sigma Alpha Epsilon made a mistake, and they’re still paying for it, almost one year later.

And after last week’s InterFraternity Council Meeting, it looks as though things won’t be changing any time soon.

But haven’t these guys suffered enough?

Last Monday the delegates of the IFC, after brief debate, voted yet again to deny SAE the right to be an official CSU fraternity after an incident last September in which a 17 year-old female student was taken to the hospital after drinking 12 shots of hard liquor at a party in their house.

When the Collegian broke the story, SAE found itself alone against both the university and its national organization.

Soon after the incident, the presidents of most other fraternities signed a petition to send them off of campus, including the president of my own house.

Weighing in their own evidence, and likely the wishes of most of the other presidents, the Standards and Values Alignment Board, the committee responsible for chapter discipline, recommended to CSU Administration that SAE be booted off campus.

Then the real bad news came.

CSU decided to revoke recognition of the chapter, and SAE’s national organization suspended their charter, giving all decision making power to an alumni board.

Members living in the chapter house were given three days notice that they were no longer welcome to live there.

A serious house cleaning was conducted in the wake of this incident. Of the 34 members composing the chapter before, only eight were allowed to remain.

For the remainder of fall semester, nobody heard much from the men of SAE.

Then, in mid-spring, they resurfaced.

SAE President David Sparling appeared with Vice President Taylor Barnett at the weekly IFC meeting and humbly requested they be allowed to return to the Greek system as a colony – an uncharted exploratory chapter. They detailed the restrictions placed upon them by their alumni board, including the refusal of their alumni to allow them to use their former chapter house until they were recognized as a chapter and met specific recruitment, GPA and philanthropic criteria.

I was the president of my chapter at the time. During the week leading to the vote, Sparling called all the presidents of all the houses, asking for a moment or two to discuss his chapter’s future. He said he wanted to talk about possible concerns surrounding their potential return and the things he and his men could do to set minds at ease.

I never returned this call – I regret my choice.

When time came to vote, they were denied, but they were not dissuaded.

They remained loyal to their fraternity and kept their heads low, resurfacing earlier this semester to participate in the annual painting of the “A” – something they have done since committing with CSU alum Col. William Woods in 1982 to never let the “A” tradition die.

When they returned to IFC last week for the second consecutive semester, it was with the same positive attitude in which they had presented their case in the spring, but it was not enough, apparently, for the other chapters.

I’m not saying that SAE didn’t get what it deserved.

Had it not been for the responsible actions of peers in the dorms, health officials said the woman involved in the incident would have certainly died.

This kind of irresponsible behavior cannot be tolerated and needs to be dealt with severely. I agree with IFC on this point.

However, I think that the loss of 26 members, their chapter house, their university recognition, and their ability to make their own decisions about their chapter is sufficient.

But I guess that IFC, in their infinite wisdom, disagrees. I just hope that they come around before the men of SAE lose their patience.

The Greek system at CSU has enough problems already; the last thing they need is the permanent loss of another fraternity.

Sean Reed is a junior political science major. He is also the former president of the now inactive Alpha Kappa Lambda Fraternity. His column appears Mondays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to

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