Fraternity suspension lifted early after appeal

by Laura King / Beacon Staff • August 20, 2015

Emerson’s chapter Sigma Alpha Epsilon will return to campus Fall 2015 from a semester-long suspension.

The fraternity was initially suspended in November 2014 for hosting a social event without college approval that “didn’t go according to plan,” said newly appointed Sigma Alpha Epsilon president Sean Dever.

Dever, a senior writing, literature, and publishing major, said that the event was an attempt to get attention for the fraternity, and to celebrate being back together on campus.

“In the moment, things are fun,” Dever said. “But at the end game, this chapter is worth more than just a simple event.”

Director of Student Activities and Conduct Board member Jason Meier and Dever declined to discuss further details of the event.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon was originally suspended from Emerson’s campus for the Spring 2015, Fall 2015, and Spring 2016 semesters. Dever said that they successfully appealed in November to lessen the suspension to two semesters. They then began working on a more formal appeal to come back to campus for Fall 2015.

Meier said that students are given the opportunity to appeal to conduct board decisions as soon as they are given. The process, he said, varies depending on the misconduct.

The fraternity submitted their appeal in June, and the conduct board lifted their suspension. Dever said that drafting the appeal was stressful as fraternity members couldn’t meet due to limits of their suspension.

The members had to submit a 10-page formal essay describing why they had received the suspension and what new ideas the fraternity has to ensure that Greek Life policies will be obeyed in the future. They also sent representatives to a meeting with Conduct Board members to give a 30 minute presentation on the content of their essay.

Meier said that each Greek Life organization has to be approved by both Student Life and Student Activities. He said they meet to talk about risks, like hazing, alcohol, and sexual assault. Sigma Alpha Epsilon has been approved for this upcoming semester.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon will be able to host brotherhood, service, and leadership events, but not social ones until Fall 2016.

“I want to leave a solid list of steps so we can host social events well,” Dever said. “We can just erase the possibility of anything bad happening.”

The fraternity is also not allowed to recruit for the Fall 2015 semester.

Dever said that the fraternity’s focus will be on service events this year in order to prove to the Emerson community that they deserve to return.

Evan Glasser, the previous president of Sigma Alpha Epsilon who graduated in Spring 2015, told the Beacon in a previous interview that he wanted to start an alcohol awareness program on campus should the fraternity’s suspension be lifted. Dever said he decided against the program.

Since Emerson College Police Department already does an alcohol awareness program, Dever said he thinks the fraternity’s energy would be better used elsewhere. He said he wants Sigma Alpha Epsilon to create service events without the assistance of others.

“It’s time for us to show that we can stand on our two feet,” Dever said. “We need to prove ourselves. I don’t want someone to think we used them as a crutch.”

Sigma Alpha Epsilon has already been approved for some service events by Student Activities, according to Meier. This October, the fraternity will be creating a team, named “Brothers Against ‘Betes”, to participate in the JDRF One Walk to raise money for those with Type 1 diabetes. Sigma Alpha Epsilon did the walk originally in 2014, when they raised $2,000.

Dever said that this year they have recruited about 20 people for the walk and raised about $200 so far. He said that they will begin advertising more when the semester begins. The fraternity’s goal is $10,000.

“I’m 100 percent confident we can do it,” Dever, who is a Type 1 diabetic himself, said.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon will also be hosting “Movember,” a series of men’s health promotional events in November, and participating in Relay for Life, an event held in the spring that raises funds for cancer research.

Dever said that after the fraternity’s suspension at Emerson, and the racist chants of University of Oklahoma members made national news in March, the image of the organization as a whole has been marred.

“I want people to see us as a group of guys who, out of the goodness of their hearts, genuinely want to make a change in their community,” Dever said.

Meier said that he thinks Sigma Alpha Epsilon is ready to participate on campus again, and he said he is looking forward to what the fraternity is going to do this year.

“I would like to see [Sigma Alpha Epsilon] engaging in leadership programs and community service,” Meier said. “I want them to show our community and campus that they’re serious about being back.”

 

Editor-in-Chief Claire Nobles and Managing Editor Hunter Harris, who are involved in Greek Life, did not participate in the reporting or editing of this article.