Interest in SAE reaches recent high

by Heather Szilagyi | 10/3/12 10:00pm

Despite being embroiled in a national hazing scandal in January, Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity saw 33 "shake-outs" or men indicating a binding preference for a particular house during this fall's rush weekend, marking its highest number in three years, according to SAE rush chair Alex Olesen '14. The fraternity extended a total of 25 bids and added 22 pledges to the organization.

The scandal was dismissed by prospective members as an "inaccurate anecdote that got blown out of proportion" and has not affected this year's rush class at all, according to Olesen.

Many male students said that SAE was the only house at which they intended to rush, according to Olesen. Of the core group of men who were determined to rush SAE in the spring, about 90 percent of them came to the fraternity, Olesen said.

"We picked up what I consider to be our strongest class in the house right now, and everyone is really pumped to have them," he said.

A number of students said they were unsurprised by SAE's successful recruitment process, echoing the irrelevance of the scandal to this year's pledge class.

"I think just like any house, people feel like they are going to have a home there," Dan Calano '15 said. "I don't think that recent events would necessarily change that. The reason why people rush houses at this school is because they feel comfortable there, and I think a lot of people feel comfortable there."

SAE has also made an effort to remain open about its processes, according to Duncan Hall '13, one of the rush chairs at Psi Upsilon fraternity.

"At first I was a little surprised, but thinking about it, I think SAE made a conscious effort about being really transparent about what their intentions are," Hall said. "They are not what Andrew Lohse ['12] portrayed."

Even if the hazing allegations affected general opinion of SAE, they were unlikely to affect those interested in joining the house, according to David Wylie '15.

"Obviously, the whole aura of the scandal does give the house a more general negative view by others around campus, but I don't think that was really a determining factor for too many people if they spent a lot of time there and like the brothers," he said.

Some students suggested that SAE's pledge term in the fall may be less demanding than in previous years, potentially increasing the appeal of the house.

"Maybe the pledge term is going to be really soft this year because of all the stuff that happened," Ellen Wu '15 said. "I'm personally happy that SAE is trying to get back in the game after that whole debacle."

Greek organizations in general have made an effort to address the concerns resulting from the hazing allegations that Lohse made in his January opinion column, Hall said. SAE members have been very vocal about the ways in which they have revised their pledge term process, which is not comparable to its characterization in Lohse's piece, he said.

Olesen said that the campus seems to have a positive attitude toward the house despite the recent controversy.

"We had a fresh start when we got back on campus, and I have heard nothing but overwhelmingly positive things from not only the '16s but from everyone else," Olesen said.

Advertise your student group in The Dartmouth for free!