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SAE, Sig Ep Alums Clash over Pledge

By Stacey E. Blau
News Editor

A Sigma Alpha Epsilon alumnus and Sigma Phi Epsilon alumnus were involved in an altercation over a new Sig Ep pledge in front of the SAE house late Monday night, said SAE President Jason Prest '96.

A fight ensued but was quickly ended by both sides, with no injuries.

Neal P. Karchem '99, who had a bid from Sig Ep "decided to pledge in front of the SAE house," according to Sig Ep President David J. Penner '96.

"We came out in front [of the SAE house] and started making noise," Penner said.

An SAE member came outside and asked Sig Ep members to quiet down, Prest said. Sig Ep members "pushed around and grabbed him," and an SAE alumni "came out and stepped in," Prest said.

"One of their alumni got into a scuffle with one of our alumni," Penner said.

SAE and Sig Ep members quickly separated the two alumni involved in the fight, Penner said. The fighting lasted "less than 15 seconds before it was broken up," he said.

Neither of the alumni had to be taken to the hospital, and no one was arrested, Penner said.

Tradition goes awry

Traditionally, "a freshman with a bid from a fraternity can call the fraternity from anywhere and say that he wants to pledge," and fraternity members will meet the freshman there to celebrate with cheering and clapping, Penner said.

"There is a custom of not pledging at other fraternities," said Neal H. Dorow, assistant dean and adviser to fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups. "But the freshman may not have known," he said.

Karchem "had been flushed from SAE," Prest said. "We referred him over to Sig Ep," he said "He pre-froshed in our house, but we thought he would be more comfortable [at Sig Ep]," Prest said.

"I think he was a little bitter at it," Prest said. "I don't think it was completely random that he decided to pledge in front of our house. I think he did it for a reason," he said.

Penner said that he does not believe that Karchem decided to pledge in front of the SAE house for any particular reason.

On Wednesday, Dorow met with the presidents and pledge educators of both SAE and Sig Ep.

"We got together with SAE officers and talked it through," Penner said. "We equally share the blame," he said.

"We're not anticipating any punishment" of either fraternities, Dorow said. The "main combatants" were not MIT students, so it would be difficult to punish anyone anyway, he said.