Sigma Alpha Epsilon's Headquarters broke news Friday they are officially banning pledges and pledge period! And Greeks across the nation were like "SAAAYYYY WHAATTT?!?!"
SAE's Supreme Council voted that all who are extended a bid from now on must be initiated within 96 hours (4 days). They are hoping to eliminate class structure (actives vs pledges) and further eliminate the hazing problems that have hovered over their reputation for the past decade. The notorious fraternity has been under heat over a number of fatalities and hazing related scandals, even being declared the "Nation's Deadliest Fraternity" by Bloomberg News.
Sigma Alpha Epsilon has decided to implement a member education program, The True Gentleman Experience, that aims to educate all members of the chapter throughout their entire time as a collegiate (and even after for optional alumni education). This member education program is broken down into 3 sections with different programs and lessons for year 1, year 2/3, and year 4.
Overall, across the internet the response from current actives has not been very positive, as most Greeks really struggle with the idea of what an organization will look like without this pledging process. Many worry that without this testing period, they will not be able to accurately identify who would be a good fit. However, I believe SAE's HQ correctly identified that hazing should never be a measure of a potential member's worth or ability to fit in well.
This is not the first time a fraternity has done away with pledges either; Sigma Phi Epsilon has not had pledges or a pledging period since the 1990's and they have seen a rise in grade point averages and drop off in risk management issues ever since.
If Sigma Alpha Epsilon's change succeeds, we predict this step will be made and implemented in many other organizations. There will be challenges, no doubt, to initiating within 4 days, but we believe this move to do away with pledging can allow the rest of the nation to start to see the more positive sides of what it means to be a part of Greek life. To stand for acceptance in a community, brotherhood (or sisterhood :)), life long bonding, and striving for excellence in personal integrity and educational pursuits; this is what it means to be Greek and we think SAE is headed in the right direction with showing the nation just how the Greek system is turning around and building leaders :)