Ousted fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon regained recognition as a CSU colony Monday after a member from another fraternity pushed for Greeks to reconsider the fraternity’s bid.
More than one year after SAE became the scourge of CSU Greek Life for allegations of underage drinking and other misconduct, the Interfraternity Council, the group that governs fraternities, voted unanimously to bring them back.
Fraternity members were overjoyed with the council’s decision, as the fraternity had been stiff-armed in their previous attempts.
“We couldn’t be happier,” said David Sparling, SAE president. “We feel like we’ve finally gotten across to IFC, and we feel like we’ve done it the right way. We feel like we can come back as an organization.”
SAE, once a flourishing fraternity with deep roots at CSU, lost recognition last year after a 17-year-old freshman girl nearly died of alcohol poisoning after drinking at a party in the fraternity house, a white brick building at the intersection of Laurel and Howes streets,
Following the incident, the chapter was suspended by their national organization, and members living in the house were forced to move out. SAE also conducted a “housing cleaning” in which 45 members were booted out.
Previous attempts by SAE to be recognized were denied after a secret ballot vote by the IFC.
But council members voted down a motion for a secret ballot Monday, opting instead to vote via roll call.
Several fraternities were denied their voting privilege, as they had failed to fully pay their dues to the IFC, including Delta Tau Delta, which had been leading the opposition against SAE.
Prior to the vote, several representatives expressed support for SAE, saying that the chapter had taken all the right steps to return to CSU.
“They have a lot to offer to the Greek community, and I think, as a colony, they’ll have a lot to offer CSU,” said Dan Parberry, a Pi Kappa Phi representative.
The IFC had twice rejected previous attempts by the fraternity for reinstitution, the last vote occurring barely a month ago, raising questions as to what had caused such a shift in opinion among council members.
Sparling told the Collegian last week he felt “several (IFC) members weren’t sure what they were voting for” in September’s vote, and that Monday’s vote would be more focused on what “would be best for IFC, SAE and CSU.”
“There were enough of them that didn’t feel right about how the vote went, so they asked for a recall in voting,” said Sonja Jensen, Greek Life director. “Some of them came in and asked what they could do if they didn’t feel right about it, and we were able to direct them through the appropriate way to do something.”
At the end of the semester, IFC members will vote to determine whether SAE will receive recognition as a full chapter, which will require a three-fourths majority vote.
While full chapter recognition is likely a matter of time for SAE, achieving full fraternity status is another story. As of now, SAE is a colony, an organized body of members seeking to regain their charter.
Jarred Quintana, IFC president, said as a colony, SAE would be an “associate member” with all of the same rights as regular chapters, including voting privileges.
SAE’s national organization has set requirements colonies must meet before receiving charters. The colony at CSU will also have to fulfill requirements set by Greek Life, Sparling said.
“Most colony statuses for SAE last two years, with a certain GPA requirement, minimum recruitment requirement, things of that nature,” Sparling said. “Colony status on the campus gives us certain rights as a full chapter, but it also holds back until we’ve proven ourselves within the system.”
While Sparling did not provide details as to what specific steps SAE would be taking, he said he would discuss the fraternity’s future with Jensen today.
Aside from such requirements, the two will discuss SAE’s reintroduction into the Greek community. Jensen said that the integration process would include getting the chapter involved in Greek functions and events, and with support from the Greek Life office, rebuilding relationships.
“Knowing that you’ve come into a situation where there’s been felled votes in the past, I know there’s going to be some relationship building that’s going to have to take place.” Jensen said.
Senior Reporter Erik Myers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.