Sigma Alpha Epsilon faces sexual assault allegation

Martha Sanchez and Hannah Levitan

Sigma Alpha Epsilon said it suspended a member after allegations of sexual assault at a January event emerged this week. (Staff Photo)

Sigma Alpha Epsilon sent messages to multiple sororities this week that said the fraternity has suspended a member following allegations of sexual assault at a party in January. 

The Sigma Alpha Epsilon, or SAE, executive board said the fraternity suspended the member immediately and is “currently awaiting the conclusion of the school’s investigation.” 

“We have been and always will be vehemently against any form of sexual assault or misconduct; that is not a culture we accept as made apparent by our actions against our accused member,” the executive board said in a statement. “Any form of assault or misconduct is not accepted at our organization’s events.”  

Tulane University spokesman Mike Strecker said the school is aware of the incident but could not provide more details. 

“We cannot comment on outreach to the victim or any further actions due to individual student privacy rights,” Strecker said.  

Details of the alleged case are not yet clear. Several sororities suspended upcoming events with SAE this past week.  

In messages sent to sororities on Wednesday, the fraternity condemned assault in all forms. 

“Any form of assault or even somebody making you feel uncomfortable is not condoned at SAE events,” the message said. 

In a statement shared Friday, the Tulane Panhellenic Council said the alleged assault hurt a member of the community and “severely corroded an environment that was meant to be a space of safety and community.”

“We do not and never will condone any sort of sexual violence in any and all forms,” the council said. “It has no place on this campus and in our communities.” 

SAE chapters across the country have faced backlash for sexual assault allegations in recent years. Two thousand students protested outside SAE’s Northwestern University chapter after allegations of druggings surfaced in 2021. An SAE member at the University of Montana was charged with two counts of sexual intercourse without consent in May. 

In 2021, hundreds of Tulane students protested sexual assault on campus. A university-wide survey in 2017 found that 41% of undergraduate women reported experiencing sexual assault since enrolling at Tulane. 

Tulane launched an “All In” campaign following the survey that provides funding and programming to educate campus members on sexual violence prevention strategies. 

Tulane’s chapter of SAE faced two hazing allegations last year. The recent sexual assault allegation comes after a female student reported a drugging at Delta Tau Delta last month. 

The Panhellenic Council said on-campus resources like Sexual Aggression Peer Hotline and Education and Case Management and Victim Support Services help Tulane work to end issues of sexual assault. 

In its statement, the council said “it is imperative that we teach and [emphasize] consent and promote bystander intervention.”

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