Thursday, November 26, 2015

Is SAE 'America's deadliest frat'?

Alumni fight drinking, hazing bans

Is SAE 'America's deadliest frat'?


"Universities have disciplined more than 100 Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapters since 2007, some repeatedly, according to a list published on the organization’s website as a result of a legal settlement," report Bloomberg's John Hechinger and David Glovin here. SAE, according to Bloomberg, is popular because it offers entree to Wall Street firms where networks of bros help each other rise. But multiple chapters have been censured for physical and alcohol abuse, despite pressure on members to keep silent about complaints.

"Colleges suspended or closed at least 15 SAE chapters in the past three years. SAE has had nine deaths related to drinking, drugs and hazing since 2006 [out of 60 frat deaths nationwide since 2005], more than any other Greek organization, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. In 2011, a sophomore pre-medical student at Cornell University died from alcohol poisoning after being blindfolded and kidnapped by SAE members in an induction ritual."

SAE's national organization says it doesn't allow hazing and tries to stop chapters from doing it. But well-connected frat alumni lobby to prevent effective reforms: "Fraternities have blocked efforts by legislators and academic leaders to curb hazing, drinking and other misbehavior. Their political action committee, known as FratPAC," pushed a sponsor to withdraw an anti-hazing bill in Congress.

"Their trade group, the Indianapolis-based North-American Interfraternity Conference, has opposed proposals at dozens of colleges to postpone rushing of freshmen, who account for about 40 percent of fraternity-related deaths. Fraternity alumni, including major donors to universities, often oppose restrictions on Greek life..."

How is this a business story? SAE is, in part, a Wall Street recruiting group, Bloomberg reporters wrote. For example: "LinkedIn, a networking website for professionals, lists almost 3,000 SAE alumni in finance, more than any other industry..."

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About this blog

PhillyDeals posts interviews, drafts and updates that Joseph N. DiStefano writes alongside his Sunday and Monday columns and ongoing articles about Philadelphia-area business.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn. He taught writing and research at St. Joe’s. He has written for the Inquirer since 1989, except when he left a few times to work at Bloomberg and elsewhere. He wrote the book Comcasted, and raised six kids with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at, 215.854.5194, @PhillyJoeD. Read his blog posts at and his Inquirer columns at Bloomberg posts his items at NH BLG_PHILLYDEAL.

Reach Joseph at or 215 854 5194.

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