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Sigma Alpha Epsilon frat removed from UI campus following 'hazing and violations'

BY JORDYN REILAND | SEPTEMBER 25, 2012 6:30 AM

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The University of Iowa will have one fewer fraternity following Monday’s decision to remove Sigma Alpha Epsilon from campus.

According to a statement from the national headquarters, the Iowa Beta chapter is suspended and will be closed. All of its members have been expelled from the fraternity. The decision was the result of hazing and violations regarding the Sigma Alpha Epsilon governing laws, according to the statement.

“Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s Board of Directors will not tolerate hazing or behavior that violates risk-management policies or the general guidelines for chapter operations,” the statement said.  “The organization expects its chapters to adhere to stringent policies and practices that help our members become gentlemen and leaders and to live up to our creed and principles.”

According to a UI statement, university officials support the national headquarters’ decision to close the fraternity. UI Student Life is conducting an investigation.

“This incident is an aberration and perversion of the values that hundreds of fraternity and sorority members work hard to uphold, and should not reflect on the larger community of outstanding greek students who contribute so much to our campus environment,” the UI statement said.

The statements did not specify what the incident in question involved nor did it go into detail about the hazing. UI spokesman Tom Moore deferred comments to the statement.

Kelly Jo Karnes, associate director for the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership, did not return messages seeking comment as of Monday night. Dan Wallace, president of the Interfraternity Council at Iowa, declined to expand on the university’s statement.

As part of the expulsion, the chapter’s house will close. Members of the fraternity are required to make other housing arrangements, and they will have two weeks to do so.

“Both national staff and local volunteers will work with university administrators and the house corporation during this transition to close the chapter,” the national statement said.

A current member of the fraternity — who requested anonymity — said the fraternity underwent a four-week investigation conducted by the national headquarters.

The UI student said the investigations have taken a toll on the members’ schoolwork.

“We are all struggling in our academics [because of the investigation],” he said. “They were kind of treating us like criminals.”

The student said he believes an incident that occurred four weeks ago sparked the investigation, which eventually found hazing and violations. According to the member, the fraternity hosted a party during which attendees consumed alcohol. At the party, members found a female lying unconscious on the ground outside the house. The student said members brought the female to the hospital.

Following the incident, the student said the female admitted to drinking alcohol prior to arriving at the fraternity house.

According to the student, the chapter did engage in new member initiation that would fall under national headquarters’ definition of hazing. However, the member emphasized that he believes their activities did not cross the line.

“It wasn’t actual hazing. It was hazing in terms of what they define as hazing,” he said. “There was no assault. We didn’t take anyone’s free will away.”

The member said the investigation and punishment was not warranted.

“This is severely unjustified,” he said. “Other houses got caught for bid day, but there was no kind of punishment.”

Jordan Duesenberg, an alumni of the fraternity who graduated in 2012, said he was “on the fence” regarding the allegations. Though Duesenberg said he enjoyed his experience with the fraternity, he said he “couldn’t argue” with officials if they have solid evidence.

“It’s a shame we got kicked off,” he said. “It’s something I was passionate about.”

Last week, the national headquarters also punished members of Iowa State University’s chapter. According to a Sept. 19 release, “several” members of the Gamma Chapter are suspended until graduation. The suspensions were part of a “process to make sure the member’s actions reflect [the fraternity’s] creed … and guiding principles,” according to the statement.

The fraternity hopes to reinstate its UI chapter eventually.

“We view the relationship with the University of Iowa as a partnership, and we hope to return to the campus in the future,” the statement said.


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