Six years after being suspended from campus for hazing, the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity received its UCSB charter last weekend, once again becoming an official chapter of the national fraternity.
J. Michael Scarborough – the national president of Sigma Alpha Epsilon – and other high-ranking national fraternity officials joined the UCSB chapter’s 40 members for a Nov. 12 initiation ceremony celebrating the fraternity’s reinstatement as an official university organization. Fraternity President Darren Schwartz, a third-year political science major, said Sigma Alpha Epsilon has spent the past two and a half years working to get the fraternity reinstated at UCSB.
“I am proud of how a lot of boys in our house stepped up and took responsibility,” Schwartz said. “[Sigma Alpha Epsilon] is such a good nationally recognized frat, and it was a feeling of relief and satisfaction when all the work paid off.”
Stephan Franklin, the on-campus director of Greek Affairs for the Inter-Fraternity Council, said the council helped Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s members as they worked to reinstate their charter.
“We helped [Sigma Alpha Epsilon] become a campus organization again,” Franklin said. “We helped by providing them with resources such as class space for meetings. We helped facilitate them becoming members of the fraternity council once again.”
The fraternity was suspended for approximately four years in 1997 due to behavioral problems, Franklin said, but the university gave fraternity members permission to start the reinstatement process in 2003. He said he does not anticipate the new group of men will have the same problems as the previous chapter.
“Whatever negative culture they had, it isn’t there,” Franklin said. “We need them to feel like it’s a new day and they have a fresh start. If things ever get back to the way they were in 1997, we would look at them again.” Schwartz said he is confident the new group will be different from the men initially who got the fraternity suspended.
“This is 100 percent a totally different group of guys,” Schwartz said. “We have [a] solid, quality group of guys with good leadership. A lot of guys are athletes, so we have a lot of responsibilities and we take care of business.”
Chad Cope, a senior biopsychology major who joined the fraternity last spring, said he thought last week’s initiation ceremony was a good experience. He said he enjoyed meeting men who have had positive experiences as members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon.
Cope said he thinks the new chapter will live up to the expectations of the national organization.
“[The national organization] knows the history of our chapter, and they see that now we have a good group of guys who won’t repeat the past,” Cope said.
The fraternity recently held a golf tournament at Sandpiper Golf Course to raise money for the fraternity and for the Gulf Coast Relief Fund for Hurricane Katrina victims, Schwartz said. He said approximately 60 people played in the charity tournament, which will be held again next year.
“A lot of people had a lot of fun,” Schwartz said. “We are looking forward to next year. We want to make the event bigger and better.”