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'Deadliest' US Fraternity Bans Pledging

Sigma Alpha Epsilon points to dangerous hazing
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Suggested by BCS
Posted Mar 8, 2014 3:37 PM CST
'Deadliest' US Fraternity Bans Pledging
In this photo taken Monday March 12, 2012, students leave the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity on the Dartmouth College campus in Hanover, NH.   (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

(Newser) – Sigma Alpha Epsilon is, according to Bloomberg, the "deadliest" American fraternity: Ten people have died since 2006 amid hazing, booze, and drug incidents tied to the institution. Now, it has made what it calls a "historic decision": It's barring the practice of pledging, starting tomorrow. "New-member (pledge) programming will be eliminated completely from our operations," the fraternity says in a statement. "We have experienced a number of incidents and deaths, events with consequences that have never been consistent with our membership experience."

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With the move, it joins about 75 other national fraternities—but it may be the best-known of them all, Bloomberg notes. "This is a very big deal,” says the president of SAE’s alumni association. “The fraternity set a line in the sand." So how will new members join? Chapters will continue to offer "bids" tapping potential members. If those men accept, they'll have 96 hours to take an alcohol-safety program named for 2008 hazing victim Carson Starkey, whose parents are "speechless" at the change, his mother says. The new system could prompt changes at other Greek organizations, Bloomberg notes. (Read more fraternity stories.)

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