On Tuesday, Oct. 24, members of the Northwestern Interfraternity Council (IFC) voted to derecognize Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) until 2021, citing a pattern of actions that “have continued to make the Northwestern community less and less safe.”
In February of this year, the Sexual Harassment Prevention Office received a report detailing an allegation from four female students who believed they were given a date-rape drug at the SAE fraternity house, two of whom also reported having been sexually assaulted. In light of the allegations, IFC chose to suspend all social events indefinitely. While the University chose not to take action against SAE after concluding their investigation in March, the chapter was suspended in April after the University concluded that it had violated the terms of a disciplinary probation by hosting social events with alcohol.
According to a statement released by IFC on Facebook earlier today, members of SAE displayed behaviors “unbecoming of a chapter in the IFC.” Specifically, IFC cites an incident in which members of SAE representing IFC in ASG walked out of a meeting right before a vote on a bill regarding sexual assault accountability, eliminating quorum and therefore blocking the vote.
The statement also referred to SAE members “continuing to wear letters with pride instead of showing humility in the face of scandal, [which] made it clear that there was no introspective analysis of the culture which fostered such vitriolic responses to the allegations” and “continuing to recruit and host events outside of the purview of the Interfraternity Council safety and accountability standards.”
Rodney Orr, a SESP senior who serves as president of Northwestern’s IFC, said the vote to derecognize SAE last night was the product of a months-long conversation about sexual violence. As a derecognized chapter, SAE will no longer have access to any of the resources or subsidies provided by IFC. Orr noted in an email that the future of the SAE fraternity house until 2021 is under the jurisdiction of the University and SAE headquarters, who own the land and lease the building, respectively.
University Spokesperson Al Cubbage could not be reached for comment.
According to IFC’s statement, the derecognition will be effective until July 1 of 2021, at which point, SAE’s membership will be reviewed by IFC. The statement notes that “any individual known to have joined SAE in an official or unofficial capacity will be barred from joining any Interfraternity Council recognized chapter or attending any event sponsored by the Interfraternity Council or a member chapter thereof indefinitely.”
“I am proud of the IFC chapter presidents taking a stand for what it means to be a part of the IFC community,” Orr said, “and am excited to see what changes we can continue to make in the future.”