SAE chapter modifies pledge process for a 'True Gentleman Experience'
Sigma Alpha Epsilon is changing the way it selects new members.
These historic changes are being made in the ETSU chapter and others nationwide to ensure equality and safety for all of its members.
On March 9, SAE's national council voted to eliminate the traditional pledge process where, like in 99 percent of all fraternities and sororities, new recruits have been considered second-class members.
The pledge process has been replaced with the "True Gentleman Experience" in which new members become full members shortly after they have accepted their bids.
This new process is designed to better protect all members and recommit the fraternity to its founding fathers' values and goals.
Speaking as an ETSU/SAE alumnus, Fred Morefield said, " SAE is one of the oldest, largest and most prominent fraternities in the U.S. Our fraternity has always lead the way within the Greek letter world and we believe that other organizations will soon follow our lead after we show the way forward by protecting and improving the health and well being of our new members and thus, our chapters. "
"I want to be clear about Tennessee Alpha, the SAE Chapter at ETSU, they have never practiced hazing in any way, shape or form as dictated by our National rules and guidelines. In fact, the SAE Chapter at ETSU has consistently received recognition and awards from our national council. In addition, the SAE Chapter at ETSU has been awarded the Outstanding Fraternity on Campus Award at ETSU for nine of the previous 10 years. That award is based on scholarship, campus and community involvement and good citizenship," said Morefield.
SAE is the first Greek organization to make such major changes in an effort stop the loss of life due to alcohol-related hazing.
Reaction among collegiate leaders has been positive and could prompt other fraternities to do the same.
"We are supportive of efforts by all our local chapters and their national headquarters to ensure that education and development occurs throughout the member experience, and that hazing has no place in the community," said Dr. Joe Sherlin, ETSU vice president of student affairs.
"We understand and respect this decision by Sigma Alpha Epsilon as an initiative to address these important issues and will work to support our local chapter through this transition."
Under the new program, chapters will continue to recruit prospective members and extend invitations to join.
Once the male student has accepted, he will become a full member within 96 hours.
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