By Krysta Huber
Washington and Lee University’s chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon was suspended last week and its 57 current members have lost membership privileges.
The fraternity’s national headquarters issued the suspension, citing health and safety violations, in an online statement published Thursday afternoon.
In the statement, SAE headquarters said it closed one its of its oldest chapters because its actions didn’t represent the fraternity’s mission.
“Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s leadership will not tolerate activities that are not aligned with our core values, mission and creed,” the statement said.
The suspension comes one month after fraternity member Nicholas Hansel was arrested on DUI charges.
Hansel was the driver in a December crash that killed one student and left three others critically injured.
SAE headquarters decided that the off-campus party that preceded the car crash qualifies as a fraternity-sponsored event that violated fraternity policy, said W&L Dean of Students and Vice President of Student Affairs Sidney Evans in a statement released on the university website.
The chapter is closed and will remain closed for at least three years. The 18 members living in the fraternity house must find new places to live by Feb. 23.
A more recent statement by the national fraternity says the organization has launched an investigation into the accident and reaffirms its “zero-tolerance policy for actions that do not comply with our expectations.”
The statement also addressed the victims of the accident in which Hansel was driving.
“Most importantly, during this difficult time, we offer our prayers and deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Kelsey Durkin, who was killed in the accident, as well as to those of the students who were injured,” the statement reads.
SAE headquarters said it hopes to re-establish the chapter in the future.
SAE’s Associate Executive Director of Communications Brandon Weghorst said the university and SAE headquarters must both consent in order for the chapter to return to campus.
Megan Schneider, campus adviser and liaison for Greek life at W&L, was unavailable to comment.
Buddy Atkins, the chapter’s faculty adviser, declined to comment on the suspension.
Former Interfraternity Council President and SAE member Harper Coulson also declined to comment.
Information also gathered by Zebrina Edgerton-Maloy and Leslie Yevak.