After a three-year hiatus, the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity will return to the University of Wisconsin Greek system after gaining approval from the Interfraternity Council Monday.
SAE was shut down in spring 2006 and put on a five-semester suspension period after IFC voted to revoke the chapter’s fraternity status. The sanctions stemmed from a complaint filed shortly after a Halloween party that resulted in 266 citations, $94,000 in fines and fire code violations. However, the contents of the complaint and specifics of the reasons behind the suspension have never been released.
This fall, SAE President and UW sophomore Jon Osmundson led the process to revive the fraternity on campus after being alerted by his brother, a former SAE member, the suspension period had ended.
As a freshman, Osmundson began contacting members of SAE’s national board and the regional director to begin the colonization process.
Osmundson and 12 other UW students interested in seeing SAE return worked throughout the past summer with alumni and the housing board to ensure the fraternity would have a place on campus come fall.
“This was a big chance for me to get involved and learn skills, communicate with people and organize events,” Osmundson said.
The approval to colonize allows SAE to be considered a part of the Greek system, though they remain without an official charter title while they go through a potentially two-year test period. Osmundson said the colony must keep up a good GPA, host alumni events and participate in community service before they are able to be re-chartered.
Due to the past violations, the colony has been put on a 12-month social probation, prohibiting them from having alcohol at social events.
“We are all under 21, so it’s not that big of a deal because it is illegal for us to drink anyway,” Osmundson said.
To assure the mistakes of past SAE members will not be repeated, they have appointed risk managers and are receiving help from alumni, Osmundson said.
“We don’t think it will be an issue because we are not affiliated with those guys,” Osmundson said. “We haven’t built off any habits of theirs, we are just learning from their mistakes.”
SAE was very upfront about their past risk management issues, IFC Graduate Adviser Tina Gislason said.
She said they have strong support in place to ensure past mistakes will not be repeated.
“IFC members expressed their confidence in SAE’s alumni support and would not have voted to allow them back on campus if they did not think they were going to make a positive contribution to the Greek system and the UW campus as a whole,” Gislason said.
The colony currently consists of around 20 sophomores who became close friends during their freshman year, Vice President Ben Goldman said.
“Basically the type of guys in SAE are mostly guys who looked at frats last fall or spring, thought about joining, but for one reason or another we couldn’t find one we were in love with,” Goldman said.