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At least two fraternities at the U have long had no pledge process. Alpha Gamma Rho is one.
“By no means [does] every [pledging] process include hazing or any sort of negative actions,” Alpha Gamme Rho president Bryan Wendt said. But “there is a certain perception that it could.”
At the U at least, eliminating pledging would not take away from the attractions of frat life for most members, he said. Fraternities that still have pledging are likely to consider following in SAE’s footsteps, he said.
“It’s just a step to a different process that I see as a positive,” Wendt said.
At the U, about 1,500 students are involved in fraternities. Matt Levine, program director of the U’s Office for Fraternity and Sorority Life, said the school supports all its fraternities, but is especially pleased with what SAE is doing.
Levine said that even before SAE’s change, fraternities at the U were proactive about educating and protecting new members, Levine said. He said he is in frequent communication with chapter leaders who want to talk about safety.
Schilling, of the Interfraternity Council, said that the U’s chapter isn’t reflective of the kinds of problems highlighted in negative nationwide coverage, and that its elimination of pledging is a wholly positive move.
“It’s a historic thing,” Levine said. “I’m excited to see how it plays out.”
Danielle Dullinger and Cody Nelson are University of Minnesota student reporters on assignment for the Star Tribune. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.