After a somewhat tumultuous history, the Duke chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity will receive its charter in a formal ceremony April 21.
Receiving a charter means that the fraternity will be able to develop stronger relationships with their alumni community and gain access to the special rituals of the national organization, said sophomore Colin Scott, SAE president. The chapter was approved after a long application process and a review by both an investigation team and the supreme council, the governing body of the national organization. SAE will be part of the new house model next year with a house in Craven Quadrangle.
“This process took us a long time, a year longer than it should have, and we had some issues putting the document together because it is so long,” Scott said. “But we are so happy that it’s finally here.”
The chapter became a colony in 2008, which is a prerequisite for receiving a charter, according to rules issued by the national organization. SAE is also a member of the Interfraternity Council.
Although there is no specific timeline to receive a charter, there are several components involved in the process, Scott noted. These steps include reviewing chapter bylaws and activities that the chapter has done or will do in the future, as well as information about recruitment policies and strategies. After receiving approval from the investigation team, who overlooked the chartering packet, the supreme council makes the final decision to go forward with the chapter, Scott said.
Clarybel Peguero, assistant dean of fraternity and sorority life, said the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life has collaborated with SAE throughout this process, aiding SAE with the appropriate paperwork and answering any questions about being an active chapter at the University.
“I am proud of the IFC community as a whole because they’ve welcomed SAE with open arms,” Peguero said. “Because IFC has always treated them as a chapter, I don’t foresee any impact on recruitment for next year, though it will impact SAE because they’ll have a better grasp of their organization as a whole so they will be able to recruit differently.”
The fraternity has a long history at the University, which Scott said is one reason why obtaining a charter was a priority for the chapter. SAE was founded at Duke in 1931, making it one of the oldest members of the Interfraternity Council. The chapter announced its dissolution in 2002, following from disciplinary actions stemming from a number of isolated incidents.
“We started the process [of obtaining a charter] later on after these incidents, with a completely new group of guys because everyone prior had graduated,” Scott said.
He added that in the past, the chapter had risk management issues—including parties that had to be shut down—which had to be reported to their alumni adviser.
“SAE nationals had issues with risk management, so they were hesitant to have another colony become a charter,” Scott said. “Once you have a charter, you’re in.”
Peguero declined to comment on the chapter’s past disciplinary issues.
Although Duke is not necessarily stringent on chartering policies, Scott said that nationals threatened to pull recognition from SAE at Duke if the chapter did not receive its charter.
Some members of the reinstated chapter noted that the organization’s status as a colony did not affect the recruitment process at all.
“I didn’t know it was a colony until after I joined because it didn’t seem important,” said sophomore Nick Grace, a member of SAE.
Grace added that from the standpoint of the campus chapter, little will change for the fraternity.
“[Receiving our charter] is more of a formality than anything, but it establishes you on campus as a chapter instead of a colony, so you have a more profound distinction on campus,” Grace said.
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