One fraternity at the University of Virginia has eliminated its pledging process as part of a policy change for all its chapters across the country.
The Sigma Alpha Epsilon national organization made the historic decision following dangerous and deadly hazing practices. The fraternity's national board, known as the supreme council, announced the change on March 9.
From now on, SAE requires all chapters to initiate prospective members as brothers within 96 hours of receiving bids. According to the fraternity's national website, SAE is abolishing pledge programs after experiencing a number of incidents and deaths. The organization also cites a “painful number of chapter closings as a result of hazing.”
Now the fraternity is implementing what it calls the "true gentleman experience," where candidates who accept a bid are turned into brothers within four days.
UVA's Interfraternity Council president, Tommy Reid, says this is an aggressive policy to drain dangerous hazing.
“Fraternity new member education processes have sort of taken a life of their own,” Reid said. “I think they have generally strayed from their original intention, which was to install a sort of respect and peer-to-peer accountability and other values.”