A University of Minnesota fraternity has been suspended for more than a year, following years of student conduct code violations that include hazing and providing alcohol to minors.
Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE), which has been on the U campus since 1902, has been suspended until June 2017. When chapter members return, they will face additional probation and education requirements.
The chapter — which, according to its website, was once voted the No. 1 SAE chapter in the nation — is also likely to face sanctions from Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s national headquarters, which oversees more than 200 chapters across the country.
A statement last week from the fraternity’s headquarters in Evanston, Ill., said its leadership “is working to determine the next steps, which likely will involve strong sanctions for the group.”
“We will not tolerate behavior or actions that deviate from our values and mission or those that jeopardize the well-being of our members,” the statement said.
The chapter is facing sanctions for issues dating back to a hazing incident in fall 2013. According to an Oct. 1 letter from Provost Karen Hanson, new chapter members were dropped off in a remote area with one or two kegs of beer and told to finish them in a certain amount of time. There was also “other physical conduct described as hazing,” she wrote.
Additionally, there were incidents at the chapter’s formal event at an Alexandria, Minn., resort in April 2015 and at two “Big Brother” events in October 2014 and March 2015. One of those events resulted in a student needing medical attention for alcohol consumption.
According to Hanson’s letter, both hazing and “alcohol-related misconduct” were found to be ongoing issues.
A March 2015 complaint prompted an investigation by the U’s Office for Student Conduct and Academic Integrity, which concluded that the chapter had violated six areas of the student conduct code and proposed a suspension until Sept. 5, 2017. In addition to hazing and providing alcohol to minors, members were found to have violated student conduct code provisions forbidding harm to person, disorderly conduct, illegal or unauthorized possession or use of drugs or alcohol, and theft, property damage or vandalism.
The chapter appealed the decision twice, ultimately ending up with a final decision from Hanson. She upheld the original decision but shortened the suspension to avoid hindering the chapter’s recruiting process, which begins in the summer.
A statement Friday from fraternity house corporation president Brian Wiessner said the chapter was disappointed by the actions of some of its members, but also felt it had been treated unfairly in the disciplinary process. The chapter is “prepared to pursue all options to reach a fair and just settlement,” the statement said.
Sigma Alpha Epsilon was in trouble elsewhere earlier this year. In March, a chapter at the University of Oklahoma was shut down after a video of members singing a racist chant went viral.
The U’s chapter was most recently sanctioned in September 2012, after a complaint about consumption of alcohol by minors. That resulted in a warning and “mandated education on risk management and liability,” according to the U’s Office for Fraternity and Sorority Life website.
Since fall 2010, the U has issued 10 sanctions to eight fraternities, including two other suspensions. There have been no sanctions against sororities during that time.