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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

SAE bids students affiliated with former DKE chapter after denouncing ‘underground’ organizations

The Office of Greek Life maintains that all new SAE members meet IFC eligibility requirements.
The Sigma Alpha Epsilon house, as photographed on Feb. 10, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Narenkumar Thirmiya)
Narenkumar Thirmiya
The Sigma Alpha Epsilon house, as photographed on Feb. 10, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Narenkumar Thirmiya)

Upon its return to campus this fall, Vanderbilt’s Tennessee Nu chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity extended bids to uninitiated students associated with Vanderbilt’s former chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity, according to the Office of Greek Life. SAE National Fraternity previously said in a statement to The Hustler that it would not engage with former initiated DKE members nor “underground” organizations upon the chapter’s return to campus. 

Vanderbilt’s DKE chapter was closed in 2021 due to violations regarding member education, social event management and hazing. According to Kristin Torrey, director of the Office of Greek Life, members of the chapter continue to operate unofficially off campus. She condemned these actions and advised students against interacting with former DKE brothers in an Oct. 26, 2021 email obtained by The Hustler. 

Unrecognized groups like this operate without the advising, oversight, training, and health and safety education provided by the University and national organizations, and involvement in such groups can put students at serious risk,” Torrey’s email reads. 

On the same day, the SAE National Fraternity reiterated in a statement to The Hustler that it would not engage with “rogue” organizations upon returning to campus, due to the former DKE brothers’ alleged belief that they could be part of the reestablished SAE chapter. SAE Director of Communications Dave Pascarella and SAE Director of Growth Jamil Tharp declined to comment about whether the SAE National Fraternity was specifically aware of efforts by uninitiated students affiliated with DKE to join Vanderbilt’s SAE chapter. 

Our Fraternity Laws forbid students who have been initiated into other fraternities from joining our organization. Moreover, It is not standard practice for our Fraternity to engage with ‘rogue’ or ‘underground’ organizations upon our return to a campus,” SAE National Fraternity’s Oct. 26 statement reads.

Torrey said that while her office is aware of SAE extending bids to students associated with the former DKE chapter, none of these students were formally initiated into DKE. Interfraternity Council President Logan Cromeens, a senior, also confirmed that SAE extended bids to students associated with DKE. 

“I know they have taken a select number of people who were ‘in’ DKE,” Cromeens said. “None of them are technically in a fraternity, since DKE is no longer recognized by nationals. They just still call themselves DKE.”

Torrey added that SAE can make independent decisions about bidding as a private organization as long as students are eligible to join IFC. The IFC bylaws specify that potential new members must have a minimum of a 2.5 GPA over a minimum of 12 credit hours and must not be on disciplinary probation to be eligible for a bid from a member chapter. Torrey added that, in the future, the Office of Student Affairs will specifically review the eligibility of students that participate in unrecognized groups to join recognized Greek chapters.

“IFC Executive in conjunction with the IFC General Body may vote on additional eligibility requirement[s] … depending on circumstances,” the bylaws read.

Pascarella said all 44 members of the 2023 founding pledge class met standards for membership set by the fraternity and the university. 

“Each of these men were individually interviewed by both SAE alumni and members of the Fraternity Service Center,” Pascarella said in an email to The Hustler. “As a result of the interviews and information provided by the university as part of the recruitment process, each of the gentlemen meet all expectations for membership from the Fraternity as well as from the university.”

On behalf of OGL, a university representative elaborated in an email to The Hustler that SAE was given details about Vanderbilt’s DKE chapter’s suspension, relevant activities that have taken place since and students that were previously members or are believed to have joined the group. 

Junior Sam Sliman, who interviewed with Tharp and SAE alumni during the SAE spring recruitment cycle, said he and his friends had heard about unofficial DKE members’ efforts to join SAE prior to his interview. Sliman said he participated in the recruitment process with a handful of friends, all of whom indicated in some way during interviews that they were not looking to be part of a fraternity with unofficial DKE members.

“They asked me, ‘Do you have any reservations about rushing here or this process?’” Sliman said. “I [said], ‘my one reservation is that it seems like a lot of the DKE guys are going to be trying to join… they got kicked off campus for a reason, and they’re not people I would want to be affiliated with.’”

Sliman also said he heard former unofficial DKE members met with Torrey to convince her that they should be allowed to rush SAE, which he said contributed to their success in joining the new chapter. Torrey confirmed that her office met with sophomores associated with (but not initiated into) DKE.

“Greek Life staff members routinely meet with students regarding questions about fraternity and sorority membership as part of their responsibilities,” Torrey said. “In the meeting with these students, we discussed the concerns and challenges with the activities of their unrecognized group, as well as the potential implications for future membership in SAE given our experience with other re-establishing organizations not offering membership to students who have participated in unrecognized groups.”

Multiple members of SAE’s spring class declined to comment and encouraged The Hustler to contact SAE’s Fraternity Service Center, of which Pascarella is part. SAE member Yuan Uy, a first-year, added that they had been told by SAE National Fraternity to direct all media inquiries about SAE to the national fraternity.

SAE President Omar Jamil, a junior, asked for The Hustler to direct all inquiries regarding SAE to him but did not respond to subsequent requests for comments from The Hustler.

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About the Contributors
Ekta Anand
Ekta Anand, Former Staff Writer
Ekta Anand ('25) is from Atlanta, Ga., and is majoring in neuroscience and communication of science and technology in the College of Arts and Science. When not writing for The Hustler, you can find her dancing with the Bhangradores, watching a good movie or grabbing her third cup of coffee for the day. She can be reached at [email protected].
Parker Smith
Parker Smith, Former Deputy News Editor
Parker Smith ('24) is majoring in computer science and political science in the School of Engineering. He enjoys playing guitar in his spare time and is a former Starbucks barista and self-proclaimed coffee expert. He can be reached at [email protected].
Narenkumar Thirmiya
Narenkumar Thirmiya, Staff Photographer
Narenkumar Thirmiya ('24) is from Orlando, Fla., and is majoring in neuroscience and medicine, health, and society in the College of Arts and Science. When not shooting for The Hustler, he is streaming TV, playing the piano or guitar or exploring nature photography. You can reach him at [email protected].
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1 year ago

Wow. Hard hitting journalism!