KU’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity shut down after multiple health, safety violations

Sigma Alpha Epsilon, 1301 W. Campus Road, is pictured in this file photo from March 2009.

A fraternity at the University of Kansas has been shut down after multiple health and safety violations and a failure to meet its national organization’s guidelines.

The national Sigma Alpha Epsilon organization announced Thursday that the longtime KU chapter at 1301 West Campus Road would close its doors after 115 years at the university. A news release from the national organization did not elaborate on the actions that led to SAE’s closure, but did say that all KU members have been suspended indefinitely from the fraternity. The chapter will remain closed for no less than four years, or until the last current members have graduated or left the university, according to the news release.

“The loss of this group is unfortunate, but suspensions are a critical reminder that adherence to risk management policies and educational programming are crucial to Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s future,” a statement from the national organization read. “When incidents take place that fail to do so, they affect the entire organization and counteract the importance of our values.

“After the suspension ends, we remain optimistic that the chapter at the University of Kansas can be re-established with new members who exemplify our beliefs and serve as leaders on campus and in their community,” the news release said.

When asked for details on the actions that led to SAE’s suspension, national SAE spokesperson Johnny Sao said it was the organization’s policy not to discuss health and safety violations.

Tammara Durham, KU’s vice provost for student affairs, expressed support for the decision to close KU’s chapter. The university, on Jan. 31, placed the fraternity on probation for two years following violations of KU’s Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities related to “organizational responsibility,” “harm to persons” and “hazing.”

“We commend and support Sigma Alpha Epsilon headquarters for its decisive actions related to the local chapter,” Durham said Friday in a statement. “SAE’s response aligns with the university’s commitment to the health and safety of its students.”

KU spokeswoman Erinn Barcomb-Peterson declined to answer questions regarding discipline of current SAE members, citing the university’s policy of not discussing sanctions against individual students. Though the suspension bars current SAE members from joining other fraternities, Barcomb-Peterson said, it doesn’t impact their ability to participate in other campus organizations.

The chapter’s closure follows the suspension of two other KU fraternities since the start of the spring semester, Delta Upsilon and Sigma Phi Epsilon. It was reported last week that a fourth KU fraternity, Beta Theta Pi, is facing possible suspension, though the reasons for that status change remain unclear.

The university is home to 26 fraternities, according to a chapter list via the KU Interfraternity Council. The official creed of the national Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity is “The True Gentleman,” a poem written in 1899 by John Walter Wayland extolling the virtues of propriety, self-control and respect “for the rights and feelings of others.”

photo by: Journal-World File Photo

Sigma Alpha Epsilon, 1301 W. Campus Road, is pictured in this file photo from March 2009.