Emerson’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter is recruiting new members for the first time since they were suspended in November 2014.
The fraternity was originally suspended from campus for the spring 2015, fall 2015, and spring 2016 semesters, but they submitted a formal appeal last summer to return to campus in fall 2015.
The college granted the fraternity permission to return to campus, but with stipulations. Last semester, the organization was able to host brotherhood, service, and leadership events, but was unable to recruit new members.
Jason Meier, director of student activities, said the chapter will be following a policy implemented by the Sigma Alpha Epsilon national office in March 2014 eliminating pledging.
The national organization implemented the policy in part due to previous allegations of hazing and misconduct, according to Meier. Sigma Alpha Epsilon is the largest national fraternity in the country. Meier said this is the organization’s first time participating in this revised process. The new members will have to be initiated within 72 hours of receiving a bid. Fraternities and sororities on campus generally have eight weeks to initiate new members, during which new member education usually takes place.
Pledging was recently renamed “new member education” at Emerson as part of the school’s rebranding of fraternity and sorority life. Pledging is the process most new members of fraternities and sororities undergo to be initiated as members of the organization.
“Most of the dangerous situations happen during new member education,” Meier said. “If we don’t have it, this behavior won’t happen any more.”
Meier said Sigma Alpha Epsilon is hosting more recruitment events to get to know and select potential new members.
The fraternity held one week of open recruitment, and has since moved into closed recruitment, which only certain people were invited to join, according to Sean Dever, president of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. There are currently 10 people going through recruitment, said the senior writing, literature, and publishing major.
According to Dever, the organization is also required to have their recruitment events on campus in compliance with the sanctions they received to return to campus sooner. Dever said that he believes this has made students going through recruitment more comfortable as they are in a familiar space.
“With pledging it’s very one sided. It’s a two way street here,” Dever said. “We show interest in the guys, and if they like us as well and feel that we’re a good fit for them, then we’ll extend a bid. They have 72 hours to accept and if they do they’re initiated as a new member.”
Stephen Griswold, the new member educator for Sigma Alpha Epsilon, said that the process of education will be ongoing for new members and current members. The senior visual and media arts major said there are several required online modules from the national organization that they are required to teach involving alcohol awareness, risk management, health and wellness and other topics. Griswold also hopes to educate new members on the history of the organization.
“It’s something we’ve had to change and adapt to the changes in the fraternity,” Griswold said. “It’s almost like a completely new position.”
Griswold also said that because of the new process, they’ve had to eliminate many of the traditions they’ve had in the past.
“I think that we’re better for it,” Griswold said, “But I do think tradition is very important to Greek life and this is something that’s very radical for us.”
Editor-in-chief Claire Nobles and managing editor Hunter Harris, members of sorority and fraternity life, did not participate in editing this article.