Sigma Alpha Epsilon seeks improved community ties

The new plan for the off-campus fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon is to “demonstrate that we are not the nuisance everyone thinks we are,” President Jared Reiss said.

A year ago, Sigma Alpha Epsilon members found themselves reading a letter from the University threatening legal action if fraternity brothers did not curb their behavior.

Administrators sent the letter after University Police reported a brick was thrown from the rooftop of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house at 2034 G St.

The letter perpetuated discord that has existed between the fraternity and the University since 1993, when Sigma Alpha Epsilon chose to stop registering for University recognition.

But Sigma Alpha Epsilon Vice President Heath Hanson said attitudes change with every pledge class and things are different now.

“We’re a fraternity, and just like any organization, people come and go,” Reiss said. “New people end up making up for the mistakes of the past.”

Reiss said Sigma Alpha Epsilon had no altercations with the University last year, other than the initial letter.

Associate Dean of Students Jan-Mitchell Sherrill said he received police reports related to the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house but said he passed them onto GW’s General Counsel. He said he was unsure of the specific charges.

Reiss said police reports can be filed for anything “from putting (Sigma Alpha Epsilon) fliers in Thurston Hall to throwing garbage in the University dumpster.”

UPD Director Dolores Stafford said she was unable to check on reports from last year.

Sherrill said Sigma Alpha Epsilon can return to campus only after the fraternity spends one year without having a single police report filed.

“There are plenty of Greek chapters that never get a police report,” Sherrill said. “I don’t think that’s too much to ask.”

Reiss said Sigma Alpha Epsilon brothers have not decided whether they want to pursue regaining University recognition. He said members are interested in establishing communication with GW administrators, regardless of whether the fraternity seeks recognition.

But Reiss said improving the relationship between Sigma Alpha Epsilon and the greater community is more important to him than a renewed dialogue with University administrators.

To return to campus, Sigma Alpha Epsilon would have to re-establish a rapport with the University and then make a presentation to the Interfraternity Council’s presidents, IFC President Seth Greenberg said.

Greenberg said the presidents would have to approve of recognizing Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and then a memo would be sent to the appropriate administrators.

Reiss said the bottom line is Sigma Alpha Epsilon wants to become a positive force in the community.

Hanson agreed and said the “community-oriented Sigma Alpha Epsilon” is a result of new members who are interested in volunteering.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon brothers will create a haunted house for area children this Halloween, a tradition they have maintained for years, Reiss said.

In addition, he said the fraternity plans to participate in the Children’s Miracle Network and the AIDS Walk.

“The University will see the truth in our actions,” Reiss said.

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