Since its founding in 2012, Sigma Alpha Epsilon has admitted four pledge classes, appealing to students for various reasons, including the fraternity’s nationwide “Gentlemen’s Creed.” The 124-word creed describes an SAE man as one “who thinks of the rights and feelings of others rather than his own … a man with whom honor is sacred and virtue safe.”
Yet SAE, at least in one instance, has overlooked these principles in practice, as evidenced by an email sent from a leader within the fraternity to the current rushees that was shown to The Hoya.
“You will ABSOLUTELY be judged on the quality of lady friends you bring with,” the email reads. “The more you bring and the hotter they are, the more the brothers will come to respect you.”
Aside from the email’s endorsement of female objectification, the sentiment behind the message is clearly contradictory to that of the fraternity’s stated principles.
These instructions, given to rushees before a party, challenge the standards on which SAE so deeply prides itself. The same instructions would not be welcome at the “True Gentlemen Respect Women” event held by SAE and the GU Circle of Women in December 2012, and they reveal a general discrepancy between the rhetoric SAE uses to describe itself and that which it employs in practice.
And while this type of language is no doubt common among fraternities nationwide, it is a shame to see it shape the attitude of a fraternity at a school without the wider mindset of Greek life.
SAE brothers have completed more than 600 hours of community service and raised more than $4,500 for philanthropic causes, according to the Georgetown colony’s website. These efforts are commendable and are certainly in line with SAE’s values. But any student group that presents itself to campus based on a certain set of values should uphold that commitment in private, too.
According to a statement in response to this editorial from SAE President Matt Castaldo (COL ’15), the individual responsible for the email stepped down and made a full apology to the fraternity. While this action was an appropriate response to the incident at hand, it is still worthwhile to note the implications of that student’s message.
Before the brothers of SAE move forward with their next pledge class, they should rethink how their collective actions reflect their collective values.