By Quanny Car @thedbk
For The Diamondback Alumni of Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity at the University of Maryland are working to reinstate the group ten years after it lost recognition due to direct violations of university and Department of Fraternity and Sorority Life policies, Interfraternity Council Advisor Christine Licata said.
The former members are trying to restore the fraternity’s reputation by seeking out new members to uphold the fraternity and the university’s values.
Bruce Harris, who graduated from this university in 1977 and was the president of Sigma Alpha Mu — also known as Sammy — in 1974, is one of a dozen alumni promoting and encouraging new membership. The alumni have also started a Facebook and Twitter page to attract students to rush the fraternity in the fall.
“We’re starting from scratch to build a new membership,” Harris said. “We’re looking for student leaders. We want students who are academically inclined and not the type of students who got kicked off campus.”
Alumni members of the fraternity are planning to hold local interest meetings, send out press releases to local papers and design Sigma Alpha Mu gear to spread interest, he said.
After being banned in 2006 from the campus, a new group called The Old Sammy, also known as THEOS, formed with a combination of previous Sigma Alpha Mu members and new members. The group registered as a student organization but operated similarly to other fraternities on the campus, said Matt Supple, director of the department.
THEOS later got in trouble for reports of hazing and other violations of school policies, Supple said.
In 2011, another registered student organization, SAM, was formed. The group’s goal was to get rid of its previous reputation and prove they “were a good group” by not repeating the same mistakes, he said.
But after hazing allegations in 2011 for underground pledging and underage drinking, the group was shut down by the university and was unrecognized by the fraternity’s national organization.
“I was definitely shocked when my national gave me a call and told me we were going to be disbanded,” Adam Friedman, the group’s former president, told The Diamondback in 2011. “There were no talks.”
The university responded by extending the fraternity’s sanctions from 2010 to 2016, Supple said.
“We have since added language to our disciplinary letter that would not allow reconstitution of a banned group [under the false pretense of a new student organization],” Supple said.
The department will support the fraternity once new members and Sigma Alpha Mu’s national headquarters set up resources and preventative measures to avoid hazing and underage drinking.
“We have a list of names from those previous groups [who took part in these activities], and they are permanently banned from the fraternity,” Harris said. “We are making sure that they do not show up.”
The department and the alumni group will meet with members of Sigma Alpha Mu’s national organization to discuss the future of the chapter within the next week. “We all had a great time,” Harris said. “We made friends and did service. We all want to share that and transfer it to the younger generation.”