A fraternity has closed at the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega following an incident of underage drinking that hospitalized one student in December.
The Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter was shuttered by the national organization in conjunction with UNG, which has also suspended the organization.
“After a joint investigation into allegations of alcohol misuse at an unauthorized, off-campus event, the national organization of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity has suspended the charter for its chapter at the University of North Georgia for a minimum of four years,” university spokeswoman Sylvia Carson said in a statement.
The underage SAE members at UNG reportedly drank at an off-campus house.
SAE had been placed on social probation for most of 2018 following an “alcohol misuse investigation,” according to university officials.
The national SAE organization said that sanction stemmed from alcohol-related violations “originally reported to SAE headquarters in February (2018).”
The probation meant that the fraternity could only participate in philanthropic and community service events registered and approved through the university.
Also in 2018, an underage student found intoxicated in a campus residence hall said she received alcohol at a SAE event in January 2018, according to a report from the university.
“UNG is consistently cited as one of the safest campus communities in Georgia, and we take seriously any behavior that threatens the safety of our students,” Carson said.
The closing of the fraternity this week “is a result of health and safety violations and an inability to adhere to the national organization’s standards and guidelines,” SAE national spokesman Johnny Sao said in a statement.
“All of the collegiate members have been suspended indefinitely from the fraternity,” Sao added. “The chapter will remain closed for no less than four years or until the last current members have graduated or left the institution. The loss of this group is unfortunate, but suspensions are a critical reminder that adherence to risk management policies and educational programming are important to Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s future. We remain optimistic that the chapter at the University of North Georgia can be re-established in the future.”
There are 212 SAE chapters, plus nine “colonies,” on college campuses throughout the nation, with 12,725 current undergraduate members, according to the national organization.