Sigma Alpha Epsilon Releases Findings from Oklahoma Investigation
EVANSTON, IL – Following our March 18, 2015, press conference, Sigma Alpha Epsilon launched a four-pronged initiative to address diversity and inclusion, as well as cultural awareness, in our organization. All of our collegiate members were provided a diversity-and-inclusion training program as part of our comprehensive training modules, and all new members must complete similar training before they can be initiated into the fraternity.
In July, the organization hired our Director of Diversity & Inclusion, Ashlee Canty, who is responsible for overseeing the development, promotion and implementation of strategies that lead to enhanced diversity within our organization. Her position is the first such staff role established by a major North-American fraternity or sorority.
In her role, Canty meets with chapters to ensure they are implementing initiatives set forth by the fraternity’s leadership and attends leadership conferences to have conversations with undergraduates and alumni about their personal identity. The education we provide focuses on empowering our members to create a culture of acceptance, to ensure their chapter is welcoming and to educate them on bystander behavior in incidents of bias.
Canty also serves as the chief staff liaison to our Diversity & Inclusion Task Force, a group that consists of undergraduates, alumni and non-members who are subject-matter experts on issues related to diversity. The committee also proposed our Position Statement on Diversity & Inclusion, which was approved unanimously by delegates at our national convention last summer.
With regard to our investigation about the chant in the Oklahoma incident, Sigma Alpha Epsilon polled every collegiate member over the course of several months. We learned there were five chapters that acknowledged hearing the chant in the past five years. However, none of those members who responded said they heard it more recently than 2012, except for the incident at the University of Oklahoma. We provided additional education to those particular chapters on diversity and inclusion to make sure their culture has not deviated from our values and mission. In addition, we cannot confirm that Sigma Alpha Epsilon originated the chant. The fraternity headquarters continues to work with our Director of Diversity & Inclusion to ensure proactive education and awareness for our members.
Sigma Alpha Epsilon operates 235 groups in the United States and Canada with more than 13,500 collegiate members. The fraternity has initiated more than 328,000 men since our founding, and our mission is to promote the highest standards of friendship, scholarship and service for our members based upon the ideals set forth by our founding fathers and as enunciated in our creed, “The True Gentleman.”