Ironic this resembles a Mausoleum, no?
Sigma Alpha Epsilon has encounter a string of terrible PR in the form of hazing stories taking a turn for the morbid. In fact, since 2006 (as Bloomberg reports) it has killed more rush members than any other fraternity because of hazing and a slew of idiots at the helm.
I understand hazing. I’ve been hazed. However, not once, did I feel like I was going to die. And if I did, I’d would have endured with the mean mugs on campus. At least, I’m living to tell about it.
Given this horrible news at the hands of said fraternity, whose tagline is “Be True,” has decided to do just that. And so, they have banned hazing forever (supposedly).
When I went to the University of North Texas (go Mean Green), I encountered the “first true fraternity of the deep south” and heard the rebel yells clear across campus. Back then, that is where you went to get so hammered, you would miss at least a week of classes. Sure, it sounded like fun but I enjoyed having the ability of short-term memory, so I declined party invites during rush week.
Good thing, or I may not be here writing today. Sounds morbid but when you become dubbed as “the Frat of Death” nationwide, there’s a problem. And, to their credit, it seems that image has been confronted with this “historic” precedent and announcement.
Sigma Alpha Epsilon, under the leadership and direction of the Supreme Council, has made a historic decision that will realign the Fraternity to produce the original member’s experience that our Founding Fathers envisioned. This change will adopt a method, practice and policy that treat all members equally and fairly and strive for a continuous development of our members throughout their lives. Effective March 9, 2014, new-member (pledge) programming will be eliminated completely from our operations, and the classification of new member (pledge) will no longer exist. All chapters and colonies will be required to implement this important change.
Don’t you love the PR there? See the word “hazing” there? Of course you don’t. It’s like garbage man morphing into the “sanitation engineer” or majoring in the “custodial arts.” What did SAE call it again? “New member programming.” What is this? Jonestown?! Where’s the Kool-Aid during rush week, Jimmy?
SAE—which has more than 240 chapters and 14,000 college members—is the most prominent frat to eliminate pledging entirely. You know, supposedly. Of course, SAE expressed regret over the recent deaths and injuries as well as the “bad publicity” they have brought to the organization.
What bad publicity? Time magazine offers this as an example:
In 2011, a mother of a Cornell SAE student sued the chapter for $25 million over the death of her son. She claimed that he was forced to drink so much alcohol that he died. In December of 2013, Bloomberg reported that SAE brothers at Salisbury University forced pledges to dress in women’s clothing, drink until they almost passed out, wear diapers and stand in their underwear in trash cans full of ice. SAE has had to suspend or close 15 chapters in the last three years.
And as it goes in most crisis communications processes, its fearless leader has spoken as well:
One of the most difficult but best decisions we have ever made for @sae1856. Proud to lead this great Fraternity and serve with a great SC
— Brad Cohen (@SAE_ESA_brad) March 7, 2014
No hazing was really difficult after all that tragedy? After all those lives that have been ruined? And it was difficult? Whelp, PR only goes so far.