The Washington Times-Herald

Community News Network

March 7, 2014

Most deadly fraternity scraps initiation for new members

BOSTON — Sigma Alpha Epsilon, one of the largest U.S. fraternities and the deadliest, said Friday it will ban the initiation of recruits, citing the toll that hazing has taken on its newest members.

SAE announced what it called a "historic decision" to eliminate pledging, typically a months-long induction period featuring secret rituals. During pledging, recruits have been subject to forced drinking, paddling and other abuse. At least 10 deaths since 2006 have been linked to hazing, alcohol or drugs at SAE events, more than at any other fraternity, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

SAE becomes one of only a handful of about 75 national fraternities - and perhaps the most prominent - to eliminate pledging. The ban, which takes effect Sunday, may spur broader change among Greek organizations, fraternity and college officials said. There have been more than 60 fraternity-related deaths since 2005. Many victims were freshman pledges, considered the most vulnerable because many are away from home for the first time.

"This is a very big deal," said Brian Madison Jr. president of SAE's alumni association at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. "The fraternity set a line in the sand. The students will have to adapt and change."

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.

In its statement, SAE lamented recent deaths and injuries and said the "bad publicity" it has recently received is "challenging and regretful."

In December, Bloomberg News reported that SAE brothers at Salisbury University in Maryland forced pledges in 2012 to drink until they almost passed out, dressed them in women's clothing and diapers and ordered them to stand in their underwear in trash cans filled waist-deep with ice. SAE members pay among the highest costs of any Greek organization for liability insurance and universities suspended or closed at least 15 chapters within the past three years.

In response, the head of the University of Maryland system and a state legislator called for tougher penalties for hazing.

SAE, based in Evanston, Ill., has more than 240 chapters and 14,000 college members. Its alumni include Wall Street titans such as T. Boone Pickens, the Texas oilman-turned investor; and hedge fund managers David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital and Paul Tudor Jones of Tudor Investment Corp.

The organization has repeatedly said it has "zero tolerance" for hazing and noted Friday that pledging was adopted only after World War II. SAE was founded in 1856 at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa.

In a statement to members, SAE's national headquarters said college students will still be attracted to the fraternity once "we get rid of pledging." Chapter leaders complained that damage to the fraternity's "national reputation" has made it difficult to operate.

"We have experienced a number of incidents and deaths," according to the statement, which SAE posted on its website. "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."

 

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Inequality crisis shot with factual problems, hypocrisy

    President Obama, various media and political liberals say inequality, of all things, is the defining issue of our times. Yet this message is delivered by multimillionaires and a president who jets from tee time to stump speech on the taxpayer's dime.
     

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • How spy agencies keep their 'toys' from law enforcement

    A little over a decade ago, federal prosecutors used keystroke logging software to steal the encryption password of an alleged New Jersey mobster, Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., so they could get evidence from his computer to be used at his trial.

    July 25, 2014

  • Russia's war on McDonald's takes aim at the Filet-o-Fish

    Russia said earlier this week that it had no intention of answering Western sanctions by making it harder for Western companies to conduct business in Russia.
    But all bets are off, apparently, when you threaten the Russian waistline.

    July 25, 2014

  • Has the iPad lost its swag?

    July 24, 2014

  • Facebook continues moneymaking trend

    Facebook seems to have figured out - for now at least - the holy grail for all media right now: how to make money selling mobile ads.

    July 24, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat

    The NCAA once cracked down on colleges that went too far luring top prospects, then it targeted teams that lathered players with special treatment. That was until the NCAA's get-tough approach backfired, rendering it ineffective and creating an opportunity for those who want to play dirty.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police Brutality screen shot. Technology plays key part in battling police brutality (VIDEO)

    Allegations of police brutality are nothing new -- as long as there has been law enforcement, citizens have registered claims that some officers cross the line. But in the last few years, the claims of excessive force are being corroborated with new technology from cell phone cameras, police dash-cams and surveillance videos. 

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Arizona's prolonged lethal injection is fourth in U.S. this year

    Arizona's execution of double-murderer Joseph Wood marked the fourth time this year that a state failed to dispatch a convict efficiently, according to the Constitution Project, a bipartisan legal group.3

    July 24, 2014

  • Almost half of America's obese youth don't know they're obese

    The good news is that after decades of furious growth, obesity rates finally seem to be leveling off in the U.S.. The bad news is that America's youth still appear to be dangerously unaware of the problem.

    July 23, 2014