Ongoing discussions between the Yale administration and Sigma Phi Epsilon regarding the fraternity’s alcohol distribution at parties may result in stricter enforcement of alcohol policies for all campus fraternities.
Sig Ep officers are currently meeting with both the Yale College Dean’s Office and national representatives from the fraternity to address charges that the Yale chapter violated University regulations and state laws concerning the distribution of alcohol, Sig Ep President David Berv ’06 said. The fraternity will not be allowed to hold any social events in which alcohol is served on a large scale until the chapter’s leadership proves that the organization will adhere to regulations, said Yale College Dean Edgar Letriz, who oversees fraternities’ activities on-campus.
“Once they have undergone … training and they understand the implications of those kind of activities, then there may be some kind of situation that would allow for this type of event in the future, but certainly under very different circumstances,” Letriz said.
Regional Sig Ep director Jesse Horstmann will likely institute an alcohol awareness program for the Yale chapter, said Scott Thompson, the national director of communications for the fraternity.
“[We are putting] together a plan that involves an alcohol awareness type speaker [and] an educational program for our chapter there,” Thompson said. “It could take a number of different forms.”
Berv said Sig Ep will comply with the University’s request and national fraternity officials to ensure that the chapter adheres to regulations, but he declined to comment further on the situation. Several Sig Ep members contacted for an interview also declined to comment.
Letriz said his attention was drawn to the issue after reading a Sept. 23 article about drinking games published in the scene section of the Yale Daily News. The article mentioned underage drinking at Sig Ep.
Letriz said he also plans to approach all other fraternities at Yale, as well as their national affiliates, in order to prevent similar problems in the future.
“The Yale College Dean’s Office will be in communication with every chapter’s national [leadership] in the very near future and I will coordinate a meeting with Dean Trachtenberg in order to discuss the presence of the chapters on the campus, their registration with the Dean’s Office, the nationals’ expectations of their behavior as well as those of the College itself,” Letriz said.
Some students and leaders of other campus fraternities said they think the administration’s sudden action against Sig Ep is unfair.
The Yale administration has been relatively hands-off about enforcing alcohol policies at campus parties in the past, and has not set a clear precedent for the fraternities on alcohol distribution, said Casey Street ’06, the president of Beta Theta Pi.
“The administration has been saying for almost two years now that they are going to look at the alcohol policy and make recommendations, and nothing has happened,” Street said. “For them to just go ahead and crack down on Sig Ep without any warning or recommendations … I think is almost an abuse of power.”
Angel Enriquez ’08 said she does not understand why the administration has waited until now to address this issue.
“It seems kind of ridiculous that they chose now in particular to take a stand on it. It’s incredibly unfortunate for the party life at Yale,” she said.
Letriz said he is concerned about Yale’s image, but the University’s main concerns are the health and safety of its undergraduates. Letriz said the current situation serves as an opportunity to educate Yale fraternities on the risks associated with alcohol distribution.