Sigma Alpha Epsilon at MU has been placed under a cease-and-desist order according to a statement last month from the national headquarters for the fraternity.
According to a statement released Dec. 13 by the Fraternity Service Center, the Missouri Alpha chapter of SAE must immediately stop all chapter operations until further notice.
The cease-and-desist order comes after an investigation into health and safety violations by the national headquarters for SAE. According to Johnny Sao, the director of communications for SAE, the Fraternity Service Center is still reviewing the case. After the review is completed, “the appropriate actions will be taken”.
MU spokesman Christian Basi said the action was initiated by the national organization, not the university.
“Moving forward we will definitely be working with the national organization in making sure that we are creating a good environment for all our students who wish to be active in the Greek community,” Basi said.
MU completed a review of all Greek life operations during the fall semester. The vice chancellor of operations and the Office of Greek Life at MU made the decision to bring in an outside higher education consultant to review all Greek life practices related to alcohol, drugs, hazing, recruitment and retention.
Three of SAE’s chapters have been closed within two months by the national headquarters, including the chapter at MU. The University of Texas at Austin chapter was shut down in early November, followed by the University of Mississippi’s chapter closing in early December.
According to statements released by the Fraternity Service Center, both chapters were “suspended as a result of health and safety concerns and an inability to adhere to the national organization’s standards and expectations”.
The University of Texas at Austin chapter was shut down after staff at the national headquarters anonymously received information through the hazing hotline. After an investigation, details were provided to the Fraternity Service Center that resulted in the chapter being suspended for at least four years.
The University of Mississippi was found to be continuing activities after being placed under a cease-and-desist order. The Fraternity Service Center further investigated the chapter and found “important and concerning details” that led to the chapter being suspended indefinitely.
SAE at MU has had a history of trouble in the past. In September, it was revealed through a plea agreement that the former volunteer treasurer for the fraternity had embezzled more than $380,000 between March 2008 and August 2014.
SAE is the fifth MU fraternity to be suspended in the past two years. Delta Upsilon was suspended by its national headquarters in 2016, following repeated violations of the fraternity’s policy. MU banned Sigma Pi in 2016 because of several hazing violations. Kappa Alpha Order also was suspended in 2016, and Sigma Phi Epsilon was suspended in 2017, both following claims of hazing.
Some fraternities have been getting national attention for incidents related to hazing. Two fraternities in Pennsylvania are under investigation after pledges died during hazing rituals.
According to The New York Times, a fraternity has been charged with aggravated assault and involuntary manslaughter after the death of a Baruch College freshman four years ago. The Asian-American fraternity Pi Delta Psi is facing one of the harshest punishments for the hazing death of student Chun Hsien Deng. The fraternity has been banned from the state of Pennsylvania and faces $112,500 in fines.
Members of a Penn State fraternity are also facing charges after the hazing death of sophomore Timothy Piazza in February of last year. Some members of Beta Theta Pi are charged with involuntary manslaughter following the incident.
Prosecutors have been increasingly taking a harsher stance in fraternity hazing deaths, according to The New York Times.