Fraternity loses house after inspection

The brothers of Sigma Alpha Epsilon were denied a renewal of their lease for their university-owned fraternity house, following a decision made by university officials this summer that the house was not safe for residence.

Each of the fraternities with housing property owned by the university must sign a lease stating they will maintain the property to a livable condition, said David Shields, vice president for student affairs.

“There were several living conditions that the university felt were not prudent to living,” Shields said. “For this reason, the university decided not to re-lease the building at this time.”

Tammy Jacques, director of student engagement, said the house would not have been a healthy place to continue living in.

“There was a lack of upkeep and care for the interior of the building,” Jacques said. “It wasn’t healthy or safe to continue living there.”

The fraternity will be held responsible for the current condition of the house, Shields said.

“SAE will be responsible for paying the university back for the damage to the building that occurred while they lived there,” Shields said.

University officials came to this decision after checking into maintenance requests filed by SAE, as well as walk-throughs of the building conducted by multiple university officials, Shields said.

“Several university staff walked through the building and property before it was decided not to renew the lease,” Shields said. “I actually walked through the building myself.”

SAE will not have the option to renew their lease with the university during the upcoming year, nor is there a guarantee they will ever be allowed to move back into the building, Shields said.

The Office of Student Engagement is working alongside SAE and the chapter’s alumni to help the chapter reach critical benchmarks that will be taken into consideration after this year is over, Jacques said.

“We’re trying to work with the chapter to help them grow in members, raise their GPAs and collect more financial and alumni support,” Jacques said. “Then we can discuss the future of returning to the house.”

SAE had nine members as of spring 2012, with seven actives and two pledges. Overall, the fraternity held a 2.34 GPA.

Jacques said despite rumors an interest group that formed in fall 2011 that went by Tau Kappa Epsilon is merging with SAE, the Office of Student Engagement is continuing to try to help the fraternity.   

“Men that were interested in TKE are possibly moving to and accepting bids from SAE,” Jacques said. “TKE was never a recognized campus organization, though. We’re really just trying to help the chapter grow and revitalize.

“SAE is still a vital and recognized organization on campus. We really are hoping for their success this year.”

When asked to comment, SAE President Taylor Marks said he felt it would be in the best interest of the fraternity not to comment, due to alumni concerns.