The national office of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, a fraternity that has come under intense scrutiny in recent months over hazing incidents involving its membership, on Friday announced that it would end the practice of pledging for new members at all of its chapters, Bloomberg reported.
A Bloomberg investigation last year that tracked deaths connected to fraternities found that SAE was the deadliest, with 10 deaths since 2006 having been linked to hazing, alcohol, or drugs at SAE events.
In a written statement announcing the change, SAE called its move, which is effective on Sunday, a “historic decision.” Chapters can continue to recruit prospective members, and students who accept “bids” will become members shortly after doing so.
SAE acknowledged that it had experienced “a number of incidents and deaths,” as well as “a painful number of chapter closings as a result of hazing.” The fraternity’s chapter leaders, the statement said, had asserted that “damage to our national reputation is making it difficult for them to operate.”
SAE said, however, that the “attack on our image” was not its only motive for the reforms. “We are making this change because it’s the right thing to do and because we firmly believe in returning to what our Founding Fathers envisioned,” the statement said.