[UPDATE: To read about yesterday's ASLMU Senate discussion of SAE's colonization, click here.]

A letter sent to the greater Greek community on Oct. 29 announced that a new chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE), the second-largest fraternity in the country, has colonized off campus at LMU. The letter was sent by senior accounting major Nick Mecham, the new chapter’s vice president.

The roster of SAE members sent to the Greek community by Mecham lists 33 active members, including ASLMU President Bryan Ruiz, who also serves as the chapter president of SAE. Ruiz, a senior marketing major, was one of the three original students who contacted the SAE national organization about forming a chapter at LMU, which he said led to his role as president.

Vice President for Men’s Recruitment for Greek Council Dane Vaughn, a junior entrepreneurship major, called Ruiz’s role as SAE president “very interesting,” and indicated that it might make any ASLMU collaboration with Greek Life and Greek Council awkward.

“He’s expected to represent the student body in a very diplomatic sense ... and the actions of SAE haven’t exactly been diplomatic,” Vaughn said.

Dan Faill, the assistant director of Student Leadership and Development and Greek adviser at LMU, echoed Vaughn’s feelings, saying, “I am a little concerned that someone who’s supposed to voice the interest of the institution and the student body would not only join but become the president of an underground, unregistered group.”

Ruiz made clear that ASLMU was his priority in an interview with the Loyolan, also saying that he can perform both jobs because SAE is unrecognized by the University and is completely off campus.

“I think a lot of people, whether that’s leaders here on campus, students or administration, have a lot of off-campus involvements. And they do those well and keep those separate,” he said. “People have families and go home for God’s sake, and do a good job, ... so I can confidently say [the roles can be separate].”

Alexandra Froehlich, ASLMU adviser and assistant director of Student Leadership and Development, said her expectation is that Ruiz’s work as ASLMU president will take precedence. “I will trust that [Ruiz] will not let his work for the undergraduate student body be affected by his commitments.”

However, Faill said that the real issue is Ruiz’s dual presidencies. “It’s the hearsay that you can’t serve in a leadership capacity of another student organization … and be president of ASLMU, for that whole conflict of interest,” he said.

Froehlich said, however, that she reviewed the bylaws and saw nothing specific about such a provision. The bylaws only dictate that the president must “administer ASLMU in a manner consistent with the best interests of the undergraduate student body and the University and be held accountable to the students for proper conduct.”

“All student leaders live complex lives,” Froehlich added. “What is critical is their ability to be self-aware and make congruent decisions with regards to the commitments in their lives.”

Requests for comment from Director of Student Leadership and Development Andrea Niemi about such a provision, as well as about SAE’s colonization in general, were not returned by the Loyolan’s print deadline.

Last Friday, a response to Mecham’s letter from the Greek community – signed by all 16 fraternity and sorority chapters on campus and Joe Dzida, the president of Greek Council and a senior marketing major – made clear that they oppose any sort of recognition for SAE.

Members of an SAE interest group attempted to gain University recognition as part of last spring’s expansion process. This process was first requested by the SAE interest group in Spring 2011, according to Mecham. However, according to Faill, the idea that the expansion was a direct result of the interest group’s request is “not the case at all.”

Despite being chosen as one of the six finalists allowed to present an information session on campus, SAE was not chosen to be colonized on campus; the two open spots instead went to Delta Sigma Phi and Phi Delta Theta.

Upon learning of that decision, according to Mecham, the members had a choice to make: either abandon SAE in favor of joining one of the new organizations, as recommended by Greek Life, or continue with colonization off campus with the national organization.

“It was [a] pretty quick [discussion],” Mecham said. “SAE was the only thing we wanted to do. After a year, it became something we really identified with.”

According to Faill, Greek Life first learned of plans to colonize off campus from SAE’s national organization in a letter from their Director of Expansion in mid-September. The letter said that “after careful consideration by our national extension committee and our Supreme Council, we have decided to move forward and recognize this group of students, formally starting a colony of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, comprised of men that attend [LMU].”

“This is not the first time that SAE specifically has [nationally] ... ‘crashed campus,’” Faill said regarding the national organization’s pattern at other schools. “The fact that the University told them ‘no’ and they’re going to move forward is not uncommon for them.”

The colonization was met with some disquiet in the community, according to Faill. “A majority of chapter leaders have expressed their concern this happened in the first place,” Faill said. “They also feel it is disrespectful to the two organizations that were chosen for expansion.”

“We don’t think it’s fair or respectful to them for SAE to colonize and kind of steal their spotlight and ... potential new members,” Vaughn agreed.

Mecham said that the members of SAE’s intentions were not to diminish any participation in the new organizations. However, in his letter, Mecham stated that “given the history of other off-campus organizations,” concern about SAE was “justified.”

One such off-campus organization is Kappa Sigma, a chapter colonized in 2007 that has unsuccessfully fought for University recognition ever since, including during last spring’s expansion process.

“We in Kappa Sigma support their decision to do what they want to do,” said Austin Wermers, a senior political science major and Kappa Sigma’s current chapter president. “I believe that SAE has just as much right as any other fraternity on campus to be on campus.”

The SAE saga bears more than a few similarities to Kappa Sigma’s first colonization, according to Faill. “Both groups were told ‘no’ from the LMU Greek Council and LMU administration. Both national organizations opted to disregard the University’s decision and move forward with their own process.” The letter sent from the Greek community last Friday mentioned Kappa Sigma as an example, expressly denying that organization recognition as well.

In summary, Vaughn said, “It’s very much the same story.”

However, Mecham said that a ban against the rushing of any first-semester freshmen, an LMU Greek Life policy Wermers said is not currently adhered to by Kappa Sigma, will be written into SAE’s bylaws and cannot be changed by future members.

For Mecham, the SAE experience has been worth any tumult or confusion. “It’s been a huge benefit to me and to every guy in it,” he said. “That’s why we stuck with it for so long.”

Ruiz summarized the colony’s decision to move off campus despite the University’s protestations by saying, “We completely respect the school’s decision, but at the end of the day, we’re a brotherhood, and we believe in each other.”

For information about SAE's national history, read our sidebar. To see a history of SAE and Kappa Sigma's development, check out our interactive timeline on the right side of this page. To share your opinion about recognition for SAE, vote in our poll on the left side of this page, or tweet at us @LALoyolan.

[Editor's Note: Please remember to keep all comments in line with the rules of conduct listed below.]

Kevin O'Keeffe is a senior screenwriting major from Austin, Texas. In Texas, he once saw a man riding a horse on the highway and knew he had to move far away– hence attending school in Los Angeles. He loves "Revenge" and Kelly Clarkson revenge songs.

(17) comments

lmulion

"LionInTexas"

So student demand for something should translate as a necessary development by LMU? If enough people want lower tuition is LMU obliged to fill this need? Or is it true that there are always more considerations than just those of a select group? Did you know that there are a significant number of students (perhaps more than those in favor) who are against the expansion of SAE? Does this mean, then, that LMU is in fact obliged to not support an expansion in order to fulfill student desire? I'm sorry that LMU's decision to not include SAE into its accepted group of Greek Organizations has so "soured" your entire image of LMU (of which Greek Life is only a single part), but maybe, in this case, your sincere efforts and clever metaphors are better served at Santa Clara University. Wait... Santa Clara doesn't publicly support or fund its Greek Life?! Oops.. I'm sure that "as far as you know" they probably do...

LionInTexas

As a proud LMU alum, and member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity, I am frustrated that LMU does not meet the needs of its current students. LMU should recognize that its success is based off of the support given to the university by its alumni and students. Like any successful business, LMU must ensure student satisfaction so that they will be more likely to donate to the university later. There was significant demand from students to colonize a Kappa Sigma chapter, and LMU refused. By doing so, LMU soured (and is souring) the experience of many students who may be less likely to show favor towards LMU when those phonathon calls start coming in. I for one have no intention of donating a single penny to LMU unless things change. Sadly, I directed my money to Santa Clara instead. This article suggests to me that many current students are indicating a desire for a SAE chapter that will enhance their college experience. In this case its the students that matter, and not the pride and ruffled feathers of certain Greek advisor peacocks. As far as I know, no one demanded the establishment of the two fraternities chosen to colonize LMU. So much for self-actualization and the "cura personalis." And here I was thinking LMU promoted leadership and autonomy. Silly me. Best of luck SAE, I sincerely wish you all very well.

lmu2013

“I am a little concerned that someone who’s supposed to voice the interest of the institution and the student body would not only join but become the president of an underground, unregistered group.”

He is voicing the opinion of the student body. He saw that some of the already formed on-campus student fraternities were not for him and created his own. I don't understand why Faill is trying to give such a negative connotation to trying to create a group to better yourself and the LMU community. I'm disappointed in the way LMU has chosen to handle the situations with both SAE and Kappa Sigma.

Curious

curious...

"Anonymity that wields the truth" must mean wields his or her own opinion, because I'm pretty sure that SAE nationally is a legitimate entity. I wondered myself why SAE and some other fraternity organizations weren't at LMU when I first came to the school.

More curious is why so many people are making opinions and allegations on the intentions and situation in question, when we should really be asking the source: these SAE individuals and the administration directly involved in the expansion process.

Personally, this seems like a lot of unnecessary controversy...

lmulion

To "123456":

No one has refuted the idea that the men in SAE are "top quality". In fact, I believe the letter from Greek Council acknowledged the integrity and character of the men.

If you were aware of the facts, you'd realize that the primary concern was of SAE as a national organization. In particular, it was their pending lawsuits and average cost of insurance per member that concerned those who were interviewing the group during the expansion process.

I was actually unaware that SAE was doing service on campus, but you're saying that the other fraternities and sororities aren't? Within the past couple weeks there have already been several, including Lambda Chi Alpha's Pumpkin Smash, Pi Beta Phi's Speed Read, and Alpha Phi's Capture a Phi.

No one is attacking SAE or the men of SAE. The group requested permission to expand and was denied. Now they are going against that decision and the school and the Greek community are responding to it.

"Paying people to lie and make a scene"? Really? Is this a conspiracy theory? Would you mind citing your source on this information?

You said you don't know who Dane Vaughn is. He's actually the Vice President of Fraternity Recruitment for Greek Council. I may be wrong but, considering his position, he probably knows a lot more than you about the situation. But, if not, why don't you be a little more specific in your claims and accusations. Any argument you provided lost all validity when you resorted to using such technical and professional terms as "little boy".

To be honest, I think this is an ignorant argument (and I assure you that is not an insult). I don't believe you're actually aware of the facts. I would recommend familiarizing yourself with the situation so you can begin a legitimate discussion.

Antithesis

Exclusion and Fraternity life go hand in hand. All of you didn't make the cut, maybe the Service organization route is best suited for your type.

Geeds.

lmustudybody

@123456

lmustudybody

First off, why would SAE pose a threat to any of the fraternities on campus? It is literally full of all of the kids on campus who want to be apart of something strictly to be apart of something. I see no desire to be a fraternity out of these guys other than to wear letters around campus and pretend to be a legitimate entity.

Also, DKFV is a muuh f#$%ing saint and you know it!

- Anonymity that wields the truth

Dan Faill

As the campus administrator for LMU's registered fraternities and sororities I welcome any and all feedback, from undergraduate students and alumni. I'm always surprised at the level of misinformation people perceive when articles are written and no full context is given for anyone reading to properly understand and make meaning.

I believe MYopinion (comment below) does a great job understanding where the frustration lies, at least from my personal perspective. Regarding comments from the anonymous numbers, I would encourage you to seek out the whole story before making comments against anyone, especially students. For me, I don't mind, it's not my job to be popular. Is my job to facilitate values congruence in the forum of fraternities and sororities, and I will continue to represent LMU and its registered fraternity and sorority community to the best of my abilities.

I am more than happy to share my thoughts on the matter - feel free to email me at daniel.faill@lmu.edu or stop by Malone 120 to schedule a meeting.

MYopinion

In regards to the article, "Unofficial Fraternity Colonizes Off-Campus" on Monday, November 12th, I want to say that the fault is not in the men eager to be a part of a fraternity, but rather the national organization who let them AND the Greek Leadership on campus that does not realize that there are too many students every year that get rejected by most (not all) organizations on this campus. (Maybe that's something that should be addressed?)
No one goes to college to join any greek organization. The problem arises when organizations feel the absolute need to expand. They start recruiting, motivating and forming each prospective members into their "ideal" brother that those interested feel inclined to fullfill what's been instilled in their minds.
SAE is not the first fraternity, but also not the first organization. There's at least one sorority (non-panhellenic) that is also unofficially pledging and expanding on the LMU campus. What the national board members of these organizations fail to understand is that while they think they are "winning" by expanding their organization, the "losers" are the students that cannot participate in school functions as the organization they are so proud to be a part of because they cannot officially represent their school. We can only hope they are kind enough to let their future prospective members know this.
Expanding greek organizations constantly would mean that other organizations would die out and in time so would the new ones. There would be double the greek organizations and no one would live long enough to really establish themselves.
It's really not about the hard work these men went through, because they chose to do so knowing they might not ever be recognized. It really comes down to the national boards of these organizations thinking it's okay to deny the students of the school a proud school-wide greek experience for the sake of them being able to add one more chapter to their roster.

lmualumni

To 050512,

I too am an LMU alumni, and I served on ASLMU. I know the bylaws very well. The only rule the president has to follow is that he must support the university. If you read the last line of this article, stated by the president Ruiz himself, he respects the decision the university made on the fraternities. However, just because you support something whoever 050512 is, doesn't mean you have to join them. Some may support the troops but that doesn't mean you have to join the army so your claim that the president is in the wrong is totally invalid. Just because the university said something doesn't mean you still can't pursue your passions. The world's greatest leaders have persevered to do what they believe and that is what is happening here.

EmilySheppard

I personally have witnessed how hard the men of SAE have worked to get to where they are today. They started from the ground up as a group of men passionate about what they believe in and stand for in a brotherhood, and SAE is where they have found those values. It is disheartening to see an institution like LMU try to silence a group of students who gathered under common principles and did everything correctly according to LMU regulations to be recognized on campus. I thought LMU was founded on the education of young adults and the promotion of one's ability to speak their mind and form organizations that represents their ideals. Isn't that how all our organizations on campus began in the first place? And how our institution was originally founded by the Jesuits? SAE has every right to be recognized, on or off campus, and the fact that LMU is discouraging the expression of our basic rights as students is extremely disappointing. I just hope more students will look at what SAE has accomplished and become even more empowered to represent themselves and what they believe in with honor and integrity.

050512

The most concerning part that people aren't seeing is that the President of ASLMU is the one heading this process that LMU Greek Life does not currently support. It's quite ironic, and definitely a conflict of interest, that the student body leader is also the leader of this attempt to go against the wishes of the administration that he also represents...

I speak as a past member of LMU Greek Life and an LMU alumni.

123456

It is ridiculous that Dan FAIL can talk so poorly on regards to SAE. The men is SAE are some of the top quality guys that run the school, like Byran Ruiz himself. This group of men should be supported for not buying into a fraternity like Greek Council suggested; LMU should be proud that it produces leaders instead of followers. Why would someone join a fraternity when they do not believe in it, which is what Greek Council was suggesting. The men in SAE are passionate about what they are doing and, in my opinion, will be the top fraternity at LMU soon. They are doing service on campus actively while all the other fraternities can't say they do. That is something that Dan FAIL and Greek Council should be focused on instead of attacking this great group of men that are only trying to make LMU better. The administration needs to stop worrying about this gruop of men and do something real. Is this really what my tuition is going to? Paying people to lie and make a scene about some guys who want to make a positive change. That is embarassing. Also, whoever this Dane Vaughn boy is, he has no idea what he is talking about. Instead of making remarks on a student who has made one of the strongest impacts for LMU as the president of the study body in just a couple of months, he should only talk when he actually knows what is going on. SAE poses as a threat to all the other fraternities on campus and that is why little boys like Dane is threatened like the true coward he is.

dblanchette

As an Alumni of Loyola Marymount and Founding Father of Kappa Sigma Fraternity, I have followed the Loyolan headlines as they pertain to my brothers. It is very disheartening to continually read how certain advisers employed by the college treat the students that get involved in these organizations. I vividly remember being excluded from on campus events and looked down upon as a direct result of this so called "adviser's" actions and slanderous comments directed towards my brothers. From one founding father to another, I wish the colony of SAE luck in dealing with this stubborn community. Make the most of your college years in the face of adversity as my brothers and I did. Perhaps the addition of yet another new colony will open your eyes.

LMUStudent

Just another example of the disconnect between LMU's Administration and the student body. They have no problem suppressing students and groups, as long as no mention of it is made to the public or the parents, alumni and majority of students making payments to the University. Think it's about time there was some sort of audit on every aspect of the administration, it has become clear that they are not open minded at all and only make decisions based on what a few (outdated individuals) think is right. That, or anything that involves them getting more money from students.

rmonahan

As a former President of Kappa Sigma's Pi-Beta chapter I think it is worth noting that clearly the ASLMU and Greek Life organizations aren't addressing the needs of its current students. Why else would 2 organizations be willing to colonize outside of the campus and essentially be sacrificing their rights to be recognized? Judging by the numbers that both organizations have and have had, it definitely seems the students are interested in far greater experiences than what is currently being offered. Great job on the evaluations guys.. particularly considering Phi Delt and DSP are struggling [thumbdown]

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