SAE fraternity placed on deferred suspension

After two years of investigation into the tragic death of Jacob Stiles on Dec. 2, 2006, in the SAE fraternity house, SMU has concluded that the use of illegal drugs by members of the fraternity was not isolated to the student who died. Statements made by several SAE members indicate there was drug use by additional fraternity members in the SAE house or as part of fraternity activities. In addition, following the death, some members of the fraternity did not fully cooperate or were not forthcoming with SMU officials, and such actions have hampered efforts to investigate this tragedy.

“In considering these findings, we are immediately placing the SAE fraternity on deferred suspension for the remainder of the 2009 Spring Semester and until Nov. 1, 2009, the equivalent of one semester in duration,” said Lori White, vice president for student affairs. “During this time, the fraternity may not hold any fraternity-sponsored social activities, with or without alcohol, on or off campus. This period will cause the fraternity to finish the current year and to get the following year underway in strict compliance with University guidelines. The fraternity may still participate in campus-sponsored philanthropic activities such as Relay for Life and the IFC Special Olympics.”

SMU has elected not to suspend the fraternity entirely from SMU since the majority of current members were not affiliated with SAE when the death occurred. “We also appreciate that the current membership recently has taken the initiative in volunteering to work with the Dean of Student Life and the SMU Center for Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention to develop proactive strategies for drug and alcohol abuse prevention and intervention,” White said.

Fraternity members were informed of the University’s decision at its chapter meeting April 6.

Additionally:

– The fraternity must work with the SMU Center for Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention to arrange for all SAE members to receive Training for Intervention Procedures (TIPS) by Health Communications, Inc., at the fraternity’s expense.

– The fraternity must participate in a community service project with an organization focused on substance abuse prevention and education, and approved by the Dean of Student Life. At least 90% of the fraternity members must participate.

– The fraternity is fined $5,000, which will be remitted to the University’s drug and alcohol education and prevention fund in support of campus-wide substance abuse awareness programming.

If the fraternity does not comply with the requirements outlined above, or commits violations of the Student Code of Conduct during the term of its deferred suspension, the fraternity will be subject to suspension from SMU.

White has reminded members of the fraternity that, in response to recommendations of the President’s Task Force on Substance Abuse Prevention, SMU has developed additional tools to identify students who are at risk and to enable students, faculty and staff to refer these students to campus counseling and other support services.

“In addition, we encourage students to call for help for themselves or for a fellow student, without penalty, through the Good Samaritan and Medical Amnesty programs. We urge the members of the fraternity to work closely with the Dean of Student Life Office if they identify students who may be at risk so that we can respond appropriately.”

White concluded: “SMU is committed to helping students make responsible lifestyle choices. We view the action regarding the fraternity as an opportunity for SAE to lead by example as a student organization with a long history of involvement and service at the University.”

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