Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity has been suspended by its national organization for a minimum of five years for violations of health and safety regulations as well as a failure to comply with the national organization’s standards, according to a statement released by SAE national executive director of communications Brandon Weghorst. Members of the chapter at the College have also been suspended indefinitely from SAE national.
Investigations by the Hanover Police Department and the Grafton County attorney’s office are still pending. Director of Judicial Affairs Leigh Remy wrote in a statement to The Dartmouth that while the chapter will not be rerecognized as a local, SAE could still return to campus as a national once the five years have passed.
College spokesperson Diana Lawrence wrote in a statement to The Dartmouth that the suspension of SAE’s charter by its national organization derecognizes SAE as a student organization as of March 15, 2016, the end of winter term. As Dartmouth policy prohibits students from living in the building of an unrecognized student organization, SAE can no longer serve as a residential space beginning in Spring 2016.
SAE national said that after an investigation into a hazing complaint about the College chapter, they passed this information to school administrators for a College investigation. The organization has a zero-tolerance policy for hazing and any behaviors not consistent with their “True Gentleman” creed of leadership, scholarship and service, the statement said.
The College then notified Hanover Police, with a police investigation commencing Oct. 20. Lawrence said that the pending disciplinary review of the organization’s activities by the Office of Judicial Affairs will not be continued given the closure of the SAE chapter by its national organization.
The Dartmouth College chapter of SAE was founded in 1908. SAE national said in their statement that they hope to re-establish the chapter in the future.
Because the decision of SAE national was based on misconduct, Lawrence said, the College will not consider any proposals for the chapter to continue operations as a local organization.
Remy said that Safety and Security completed an investigation of SAE new member activity in the fall, which included interviews with SAE members. While the organizational investigation has been discontinued by Judicial Affairs due to the action by SAE’s national organization, Remy said, Judicial Affairs will be reviewing information obtained from the investigation to evaluate individual conduct over the next two weeks.
Remy said that although the College has derecognized SAE, their return after five years is still a possibility. She added that the College will continue to work with the national leadership of SAE assuming that members and alumni trustees close the chapter responsibly.
Hanover Police Chief Charlie Dennis said that he was unable to comment as the investigation into SAE is ongoing and is also under review of the Grafton County Attorney’s office.
Grafton County attorney Lara Saffo also said that she was not able to comment on a pending investigation, defining a pending investigation as one in which her office has decided not to prosecute the case or a case that has not been resolved with either a plea or trial.
Last spring, Alpha Delta fraternity was derecognized after a branding incident that fall while AD was suspended.
In the past two decades, three fraternities have been derecognized and later reinstated. Beta Theta Pi fraternity, now Beta Alpha Omega fraternity, and Zeta Psi fraternity were derecognized in 1996 and 2001, respectively.
Beta returned to campus as a local chapter in 2008 and Zete returned in 2011 after a two-year re-recognition process.
Phi Delta Alpha fraternity was indefinitely derecognized in 2000 but was re-recognized in 2004. Chi Heorot fraternity successfully appealed its derecognition by the College in 2001, and was instead subject to three terms of social probation.
SAE members did not respond to multiple requests for comments by press time.