DENVER -- Sigma Alpha Epsilon, one of the nation's largest fraternities, has banned pledging. The months-long introduction process and secret rituals are no more.
While they are not the first, SAE is perhaps the most prominent fraternity in the United States to eliminate pledging. Other fraternities hope the move becomes a trend and the future of Greek life on college campuses across the country.
Not everyone is a fan. Dillion Brooks is a junior at the University of Denver. He's proud of his SAE brotherhood and has his reservations about the changes coming to the new member process.
“Yeah it's a bummer," he said. "What I've understood vaguely is we have to initiate our members 96 hours after they get the bid, as opposed to a whole quarter to get that process done. (Pledging) really helped me find out a lot about myself and become close with my brothers, and so I feel like these kids are going to be cheated out of that aspect, because you really get to bond and come together.”
Since 2006, at least 10 deaths have been linked to SAE events nationwide. That's the kind of negative attention other fraternities have already tried to combat.
Nick Young is the president of Zeta Beta Tau at DU.
“We did this back in '89 and we think it's a great step for the SAE brothers,” Young said. Hecalls SAE's move a step forward in battling the image fraternities have in the media today. But he also notes it's about more than just appearances.
“It definitely makes the new brothers feel more a part of the fraternity right at first," he said. "And then they go through the education process with the history and that kind of stuff and our standards.”
Young and the brothers at ZBT hope more fraternities and sororities follow suit now that the large nationwide SAE is changing the way they approach the process. But some, like Brooks just aren't too sure.
Brooks says, “I'm not too happy about it, but it is what it is.”