A new fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, will be coming to campus this fall.
The Interfraternity Council gave its official approval Wednesday night for Sigma Alpha Epsilon to form a colony at Columbia, according to Anirban Poddar, CC ’14, one of two students who spearheaded the initiative to bring the fraternity to campus.
Poddar, who worked with Kofi Agyapong, CC ’15, on the initiative, hopes that the organization will become a fully-fledged chapter in fall 2013. That would require approval from Columbia and from Sigma Alpha Epsilon's national organization.
“A bunch of my friends and I were talking about bringing a new fraternity to campus last fall. We were looking to add something fresh to the Greek dynamic at Columbia and attract a diverse group of students,” Poddar said.
IFC approval was the last step in a long process to bring the fraternity to campus. The fraternity previously held a chapter at Columbia until 1961, when it was disbanded.
“SAE was trying to come to Columbia as well, because there is a chapter at every other Ivy,” Poddar added.
Sigma Alpha Epsilon is one of the country’s largest fraternities. Poddar said that the it has a lot of alumni support, with “over 10,000 alums in Manhattan alone.”
The fraternity will not apply for a brownstone next year, Poddar said.
“During the colony process, we are spreading groundwork,” he said. “We won’t be allowed to apply for a brownstone.”
Poddar said that hazing was “one of the things we discussed very seriously during the deliberation process.” Several Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapters have made headlines in the past for accusations of hazing, most recently at Dartmouth College.
“The culture of fraternities in general is different at places like Dartmouth and Cornell. Columbia has a different culture,” Poddar said, noting that he believed SAE’s national stance against hazing to be very strong. “Hazing is an overall issue at Dartmouth—SAE just happens to be the largest fraternity."