The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

National News

March 10, 2014

Most deadly fraternity scraps initiation for new members

BOSTON — Sigma Alpha Epsilon, one of the largest U.S. fraternities and the deadliest, said Friday it will ban the initiation of recruits, citing the toll that hazing has taken on its newest members.

SAE announced what it called a "historic decision" to eliminate pledging, typically a months-long induction period featuring secret rituals. During pledging, recruits have been subject to forced drinking, paddling and other abuse. At least 10 deaths since 2006 have been linked to hazing, alcohol or drugs at SAE events, more than at any other fraternity, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

SAE becomes one of only a handful of about 75 national fraternities - and perhaps the most prominent - to eliminate pledging. The ban, which takes effect Sunday, may spur broader change among Greek organizations, fraternity and college officials said. There have been more than 60 fraternity-related deaths since 2005. Many victims were freshman pledges, considered the most vulnerable because many are away from home for the first time.

"This is a very big deal," said Brian Madison Jr. president of SAE's alumni association at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. "The fraternity set a line in the sand. The students will have to adapt and change."

Under the new plan, SAE chapters will still recruit new members and extend them a "bid," or invitation to join. Students accepting the bid will become full members almost immediately. All SAE members will be required to complete additional training, including alcohol education, during their college years.

In its statement, SAE lamented recent deaths and injuries and said the "bad publicity" it has recently received is "challenging and regretful."

In December, Bloomberg News reported that SAE brothers at Salisbury University in Maryland forced pledges in 2012 to drink until they almost passed out, dressed them in women's clothing and diapers and ordered them to stand in their underwear in trash cans filled waist-deep with ice. SAE members pay among the highest costs of any Greek organization for liability insurance and universities suspended or closed at least 15 chapters within the past three years.

In response, the head of the University of Maryland system and a state legislator called for tougher penalties for hazing.

SAE, based in Evanston, Ill., has more than 240 chapters and 14,000 college members. Its alumni include Wall Street titans such as T. Boone Pickens, the Texas oilman-turned investor; and hedge fund managers David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital and Paul Tudor Jones of Tudor Investment Corp.

The organization has repeatedly said it has "zero tolerance" for hazing and noted Friday that pledging was adopted only after World War II. SAE was founded in 1856 at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa.

In a statement to members, SAE's national headquarters said college students will still be attracted to the fraternity once "we get rid of pledging." Chapter leaders complained that damage to the fraternity's "national reputation" has made it difficult to operate.

"We have experienced a number of incidents and deaths," according to the statement, which SAE posted on its website. "We have endured a painful number of chapter closings as a result of hazing. Research shows that hazing, which hides in the dark, causes members to lie."

 

1
Text Only
National News
  • Rodden, Danny.jpg Indiana sheriff accused of lying about relationship with prostitute

    The sheriff of Clark County, Ind., faces an eight-count federal indictment that accuses him of lying about paying a prostitute for a sex act and giving her a badge so that she could claim a discount rate at a hotel.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140727-AMX-GUNS271.jpg Beretta, other gun makers heading to friendlier states

    In moving south and taking 160 jobs with it, Beretta joins several other prominent gunmakers abandoning liberal states that passed tough gun laws after the Newtown shooting.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fast food comes to standstill in China

    The shortage of meat is the result of China's latest food scandal, in which a Shanghai supplier allegedly tackled the problem of expired meat by putting it in new packaging and shipping it to fast-food restaurants around the country

    July 29, 2014

  • Medicare hospital fund to last 4 years longer

    Medicare's finances are looking brighter, the government said Monday. The program's giant hospital trust fund won't be exhausted until 2030 — four years later than last year's estimate.

    July 28, 2014

  • After 6 weeks, finally a deal on VA health care

    After more than six weeks of sometimes testy talks, House and Senate negotiators have agreed on a compromise plan to fix a veterans health program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records covering up delays.

    July 28, 2014

  • Brother sues W.Va. senator over business loan

    U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin III faces a $1.7 million civil suit filed by a brother over a lifeline to save a family carpet business.

    July 25, 2014

  • Official: Hospital gunman intended to kill others

    A psychiatric patient ranted about a hospital gun ban before opening fire at the suburban medical complex, killing his caseworker and grazing his psychiatrist before the doctor pulled out his own weapon and fired back, authorities said Friday.

    July 25, 2014

  • 10 things to know for today

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

     

    July 25, 2014

  • Illinois woman, 47, dies rescuing boy in Wisc. lake ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (AP) — Friends and family are mourning the death of an Illinois woman who drowned while rescuing a 9-year-old boy in a Wisconsin lake.The (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald reports 47-year-old Karen Wessel of Arlington Heights d

    July 25, 2014

  • Taiwan plane crash photo Air travel a leap of faith for passengers WASHINGTON (AP) — Airline travel requires passengers to make a leap of faith, entrusting their lives to pilots, airlines, air traffic controllers and others who regulate air travel.Even after a week of multiple tragedies in worldwide aviation, “There

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video
Facebook