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America's 'deadliest fraternity' drops pledging

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Labeled the "deadliest fraternity in the U.S." by Bloomberg in December, Sigma Alpha Epsilon has decided to completely nix pledging, and consequently hazing, in an attempt to improve its image. 

Calling it a "historic decision," the fraternity made the announcement to ditch pledging and hazing Thursday, saying it will  "protect Sigma Alpha Epsilon's future and to eliminate a class structure between our new members and our active members​."  (Via  SAE )

What's a frat to do with for membership without pledges? Well, SAE said they hope a new initiation period where candidates must be initiated within 96 hours will foster a stronger brotherhood.

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​Pledging is nothing new for college campuses, but SAE has had multiple deaths from hazing and alcohol-related incidents in recent years, including reports of drug overdoses, hypothermia and multiple cases of alcohol poisoning. (Via  TexasMonthly Campus Safety Magazine KTVB )

In an interview with  Bloomberg , one member of SAE said that being forced to sit in a dark basement for nine hours listening to blaring rock music without food or water was so much like torture that it reminded him of Guantanamo Bay. 

Some are skeptical that the announcement counts as a mea culpa from SAE. One writer at  PolicyMic  said:

"SAE is still far from accepting blame for the recent string of pledge deaths. ... Rather than acknowledging the tragedy of its pledge deaths, SAE provides a pragmatic rationale for its decision: the 'damage to our national reputation is making it difficult for [chapters] to operate.'"

Caitlin Flanagan, who spent a year investigating fraternities in a piece for The Atlantic, said in an interview with  CBS  she found that hazing actually ranks as the lowest cause for harmful incidents within fraternities saying:

"Hazing is the least common problem. It's only 7 percent. Most common is assault and battery. These kids get liquored up and they get in horrible fights."

SAE's new fraternity guidelines, called the "True Gentleman Experience," will go into effect Sunday.

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  • Unable to convince GOP lawmakers to get on board with a plan to overhaul the Obama health law, Republicans in the House decided not to even force a vote on the measure, a major setback for both President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan. “This bill is dead,” said Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, who played a central role in cobbling together this plan. 'This bill is dead,' House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Walden says — Cristina Marcos (@cimarcos) March 24, 2017 The bill never even came to a vote, as it became obvious that Republicans had nowhere near a majority of lawmakers ready to vote for it. Democrats were more than happy to pile on the GOP legislative debacle. #ObamaCare 1 – #Trumpcare 0. — Rep. Hank Johnson (@RepHankJohnson) March 24, 2017
  • In the end, monolithic opposition by Democrats coupled with opposition from the far right doomed Friday’s vote on the American Health Care Act, the GOP bill that would have repealed and replaced the law commonly known as “Obamacare.” GOP leadership decided to pull the bill, realizing that it could not pass. The Trump administration made it clear early Friday that negotiations were over, and the president wanted an up or down vote Friday. House Speaker Paul Ryan went to the White House to report he didn’t have the votes to pass the bill; President Trump had previously said win or lose, Rep. Ryan should keep his position as Speaker. The GOP plan (AHCA) would have ended the mandate that all Americans pay for health insurance, replacing it with a plan where the federal government would give Americans tax credits, based on age. That would have saved taxpayers billions of dollars, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, but would have left  24 million additional Americans without health coverage within the next decade. Many governors, including some Republicans, also had serious concerns about the additional burdens passed on to states under the AHCA.
  • The Pawhuska woman recently accused of exposing herself to a classroom of students was arrested this week on accusations of stealing a purse.  According to the arrest report, Lacey Sponsler allegedly stole a purse while at the Broken Arrow Lanes bowling alley near 111th and Elm last Thursday.   The report states that witnesses saw her acting suspiciously and looking at people’s belongings. One witness saw her grab a purse and asked if it was hers. She said it was not.   A witness then reportedly saw Sponsler walk into the game room and return wearing different clothes. Police were called and found her in the bathroom.   Sponsler was arrested in February for doing a cartwheel in front of students at a Pawhuska school. She was not wearing anything under her dress and exposed herself to the students.
  • Authorities in Ohio arrested three people after they discovered the badly decomposed body of a 71-year-old Vietnam veteran in a home, according to multiple reports. >> Read more trending news Deputies with the Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Office found the body of Bob Harris, 71, after learning that his Social Security debit card was being used despite the fact that he hadn’t been seen for months, WJW reported. The body had decomposed to the point where the remains were mostly skeletal, lying in the living room of a home in Wainwright. The body was kept a short distance from where the home’s residents slept, according to WJW. “It’s a horribly graphic case,” Sheriff Orvis Campbell told TimesReporter.com. He said Harris’ body was found in some “of the most deplorable conditions we can describe.” Trash and animal waste was found near the body. Harris was living with a married couple and their daughter, according to TimesReporter.com. The family had spread stories about Harris moving to Stark County and allowing them to use his Social Security benefits, Campbell said. Authorities arrested Brian and Stacy Sorohan on charges of abuse of a corpse and theft of a credit card, according to The Associated Press. The couple’s 18-year-old daughter was charged with abuse of a corpse. Deputies said the circumstances surrounding Harris’ death were not immediately clear. An autopsy will be performed to determine whether his death involved foul play, according to TimesReporter.com.
  • Tulsa police Thursday released video of an incident in which an officer used his patrol car to end a gunfight. Madison Dickson was the suspect in a string of violent crimes that spanned nearly a week when she was spotted in a vehicle near 91st and Harvard last Saturday. She tried to run, and gunfire is heard on the video, which officers say was directed toward them. The officer swerves left as she points the gun at him, then veers right and runs her over as she attempts to flee. Additional videos released to media by TPD indicate an officer also used a Taser on Dickson after she was down, because she still had the gun and wasn’t responding to commands. “She might not be able to, hang on,” one officer says as others are yelling at her to show her hands. EMSA arrived on the scene a few minutes later, but Dickson died from her injuries.