Three Yale students pledging the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon were arrested by the New Haven Police Department early Saturday morning on charges that included larceny and criminal mischief.
NHPD spokeswoman Bonnie Winchester said David Atlas ’08, Steven Kuchta ’09 and Devin Ringger ’09 allegedly broke the menu display window of Samurai, a Japanese restaurant located on College Street, to steal a menu from the establishment. All three students were charged with conspiracy to commit criminal mischief in the third degree and larceny in the sixth degree.
Winchester said Ringger was also charged with one count of criminal mischief in the third degree and one count of interfering with an officer.
“Ringger fled from the scene and then resisted arrest,” she said.
SAE members declined to comment about the incident or whether it was related to the pledging process.
“No one was arrested at the SAE house Friday night,” SAE President Bill Deitch ’07 said.
Deputy Secretary Martha Highsmith said Yale officials will look into the incident. When students are charged with criminal offenses, they must often appear before the University’s Executive Committee, she said.
“We will communicate with the New Haven Police Department to determine what sort of action we should take,” Highsmith said.
SAE members declined to comment about whether the arrested pledges were participating in official pledging activities at the time of the incident, but some other campus fraternities said scavenger hunts are often a part of the pledging process.
Delta Kappa Epsilon Rush Chairman Peter Pacelli ’07 said some fraternities send their pledges on scavenger hunts around New Haven, but DKE does not do this because of the risk posed to the students. Instead, Pacelli said DKE makes an effort to keep all pledging activities on DKE property.
“In the past, I know that a lot of students in scavenger hunts have been in trouble with the police,” he said. “For us, the pledging process is about educating pledges about our history … We talk to them about peer pressure, social pressure and how to get through the Yale experience.”
Salvador Nunez ’08, a former Sigma Chi pledge, said he was expected to go on a scavenger hunt as part of the pledging process. But Nunez said Sigma Chi fraternity brothers never encouraged him to break the law in an effort to gather items on the list. As part of his scavenger hunt, Nunez said he had to look for items Sigma Chi brothers had hidden in Cross Campus Library.
“When pledges get in trouble with the police, it’s usually not because fraternity brothers told them to do something,” he said. “They just get out of control.”
Yale College Dean Peter Salovey said he is unfamiliar with the specific incident. If SAE comes under investigation, he said the University will not deal directly with the Yale chapter of SAE, but with SAE’s alumni organization, which sponsors the fraternity.
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