Interfraternity Council Exec “fully supports” SAE full membership in email to chapter presidents ahead of Monday vote


Daily file photo by Colin Boyle

Interfraternity Council chapter presidents are set to vote Monday evening on whether Sigma Alpha Epsilon ought to move from associate to full membership.

Catherine Buchaniec, Design Editor

In a Friday email obtained by The Daily, the Interfraternity Council Executive Board wrote to chapter presidents saying they fully support a “yes” vote to make Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity a full member chapter ahead of Monday’s vote.

The vote, which does not include the IFC Executive Board, would determine the chapter’s ability to vote in bi-weekly President’s Forums and have a chapter member serve on the IFC executive board as a full, rather than an associate, member.

The University previously investigated the fraternity after receiving several reports of alleged sexual assault and druggings made in early 2017. However, Northwestern ultimately decided against pursuing disciplinary action. The investigation was ended after “assessing all information and carefully considering the wishes of the person who spoke with (Sexual Harassment Prevention Office) staff,” Patricia Telles-Irvin, former vice president for student affairs, said in a 2017 email announcing the decision.

SAE was suspended in May 2017 for hosting social events in violation of its probation and providing alcohol to minors.

In September 2018, IFC allowed the chapter to rejoin the organization as an associate member after voting the previous year to cease recognition of the chapter until 2021. As an associate member, SAE was held to the same obligations as full members regarding risk management, event reporting, new member education training and President’s forum attendance.

According to the email, SAE has completed their University sanctions and meets the requirements laid out in the IFC Constitution that allows them to seek a vote.

“There is no reason based in the IFC Constitution or according to University policy that prohibits the current chapter of SAE to be recognized as full members of the IFC community,” the Board wrote in the email.

In addition to supporting a “yes” vote, the Board also wrote that they believe SAE will contribute positively to the community moving forward.

“SAE’s new Exec Board had an extensive meeting with the IFC Exec Board regarding the vote and their role within the IFC community,” the Board wrote. “We sensed a genuine, committed desire to be better integrated in IFC and serve as a role model for other chapters.”

In the email, the Executive Board also outlined what could happen should there be a “no” vote.

According to the Board, a “no” vote would mean SAE does not meet a requirement for full membership, which, according to the email, is not the case.

“As the vote will have already occurred, we cannot draft a new requirement for full membership that would strive to prevent SAE’s membership and then apply it retroactively as justification for the ‘no’ vote,” wrote the Board. “We cannot ‘move the goalposts’ for full member status requirements after the vote has happened.”

The email reminded chapter presidents that many full member Northwestern fraternities are already under scrutiny or being fined for failing to attend President’s Forums and get sufficient attendance at new member trainings. The Board wrote that any hypothetical requirement drafted would also apply to all other IFC chapters as a condition for full membership.

“We advise against seeking additional requirements that you yourselves cannot meet,” wrote the Board.

When asked whether this email, which features the subject line “PLEASE READ: SAE Vote Recommendation,” was sent in order to impact the voting Monday, Jayden Logan, the IFC Executive Board president, said that was not the case.

“We’ve tried to make this as unbiased of a process as possible,” Logan said. “Unfortunately, there is bias against SAE already, so they’re already in an unfair place.”

Logan also explained the Board’s motivation for sending the email, saying they wanted voting members to have all the information rather than relying on allegations or rumors, and to save time during Monday’s meeting.

“It’s not up to us to be like, ‘People don’t like you — we can’t take you in,’” Logan said. “If that were true, there are a lot of other chapters people don’t like on this campus.”

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Twitter: @caty_buchaniec

Related stories:
IFC reverses course, recognizes SAE as a member with limited voting power
Looking back since the University’s 2017 investigation of Sigma Alpha Epsilon