Sigma Alpha Epsilon member, chapter suspended

Danielle Ferguson

A member of the ISU chapter of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity has been suspended after being named in a sexual assault case, according to the fraternity’s national headquarters statement.

The ISU chapter suspended the member and the national headquarters is investigating the situation.

“Suspended members have their membership privileges removed temporarily for a period of time until the suspension has been lifted,” according to the Sigma Alpha Epsilon suspension form. 

The chapter was placed on an interim suspension on Jan. 21, Annette Hacker, university news service director, said via email.

The chapter had an interim suspension hearing with Dean of Students Pamela Anthony on Friday, Jan. 23, and on Jan. 29, the chapter was notified that the interim suspension is being upheld pending outcome of the judicial case, she said in the email.

The chapter’s president, Christian Dahl, could not give comment because of fraternity protocol and directed the Daily to Brandon Weghorst with the national headquarters, who shared a prepared statement.

“Any form of assault or sexual misconduct by anyone is unacceptable, and we will not tolerate actions that are inconsistent with our values,”  the statement said. “The individual behavior of any member that deviates from our beliefs does not and should not reflect on other members, other chapters or other fraternity men.

“We continue to work with our chapter at Iowa State University and its strong alumni advisory board to make sure that brothers meet or exceed our guidelines set forth at the national level.”

There are different levels of suspension, Weghorst said. In the case of a sexual assault, a chapter may suspend a member because of the individual’s action, pending what occurs in the legal system, he said. 

“Sexual assault is an important topic to us,” Weghorst said. “We believe in the legal system’s process of someone is innocent until proven guilty. It’s better to suspend the member and wait to see the outcome of what may happen as the situation pans.” 

Sigma Alpha Epsilon also has members participating in It’s on Us, the national initiative to fight sexual assault on campuses, according to the statement.

The suspensions come after a sexual assault was reported to have occurred at the fraternity house on Jan. 16. The assault was reported Jan. 17 and the university sent out a timely warning on Jan. 22. 

Because greek houses are in Ames Police jurisdiction, both Ames PD and the university are investigating the case.

Ames Police has not made any charges on the case, said Jason Tuttle, Ames PD public information officer. A detective and officer are working on the case by following up with those in the fraternity and others involved, he said.

When a member of a Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter is suspended, the member, according to the SAE suspension laws

  • shall not display the certificate of membership during the period of suspension
  • shall not be permitted to 1) attend any chapter, alumni meeting or social affair given under the auspices of the fraternity
  • enter the chapter house for any purpose

To be reinstated from a suspension, a member may be reinstated by a two-thirds vote of the Chapter Collegiate that imposed the suspension. A suspended member can petition the suspension for reinstatement at any time, but it must be made by another member in good standing.

A suspended member can also be reinstated by a two-thirds vote of members in good standing at a chapter meeting if a quorum is present, according to the fraternity laws.

The sexual assault that was reported to have occurred at the house is the first in two reported sexual assaults on the ISU campus so far in 2015. 

Another sexual assault report was in a residence hall, where the victim reported being assaulted by an acquaintance.

The incident was reported to have happened Jan. 19 in Larch Hall, a timely warning released by Iowa State stated. The timely warning was released around 4 p.m. Jan. 23.

Universities are required to issue timely warnings as part of the Clery Act — which requires universities to inform communities of an ongoing threat. 

Under Title IX, universities are required to have a sexual violence response coordinator and must have a response investigation procedure. 

Iowa State’s Safety and You publication reports seven sexual assaults in 2011, 12 in 2012 and 20 in 2013.