Sigma Alpha Epsilon, one of Penn’s largest fraternities, has become a no-pledging institution.
Tonight , the fraternity’s new member class will be formally initiated as full members of the fraternity. This initiation will occur a week ahead of the scheduled date for Penn’s SAE initiation.
In an announcement made by SAE nationals on March 9, the organization eliminated the classification of “new member,” completely removing new member programming from the fraternity’s operations nationwide.
A new “True Gentleman Experience” program will replace the old system. This will involve new members becoming fully initiated within 96 hours of being granted a bid.
The removal of the pledge program has sparked concern from a number of alumni, College junior and SAE president Matthew Hanessian said. He explained that some feel upset at the removal of the numerous traditions of the initiation process.
Some SAE brothers have also expressed concern about putting “a bit of a damper” on traditions of teaching the history of the fraternity during the old pledge process, he added.
He explained, however, that the fraternity completely understands the decision made by SAE’s Supreme Council and will be fully adhering to the new policy.
SAE was already a no-hazing fraternity, but Hanessian outlined how fraternities elsewhere do not always obey the rules. “Recently, it’s obviously not been enough,” said College senior and SAE’s new member educator Andrew Musser, justifying the new action taken by nationals to prevent hazing across all SAE institutions.
Musser also highlighted nationals’ emphasis on viewing the change as a return to the vision of SAE’s founding fathers.
The original SAE institutions did not use the pledging process which is common today, Musser explained. This process only developed after World War I. The change will move SAE “back into the old, sustainable processes,” he added.
Hanessian also said the new True Gentleman Experience will focus on continual education of fraternity members. Whereas education was only for new members, it will now be an ongoing feature of fraternity life.
This change will require the position of new member educator to be replaced with the role of “member educator,” which will focus on continued education and integration. The member educator will continue to use The Phoenix, SAE’s education guide.
The True Gentleman Experience Program also formalizes the expectations SAE has of its members and aims to ensure the equal rights and responsibilities of fraternity members.
The fraternity’s national website also outlined how it hopes the change will challenge the public’s “preconceived notion of what fraternity membership entails.”
No changes will be made to the recruitment process or the new member fees.