- 2011-2012 Cornell University Annual Report (22.7MB pdf)
March 18, 2011
Vice President for Student and Academic Services Susan Murphy released the following statement:
Cornell University has decided to withdraw, effective immediately, its recognition of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, pursuant to its University Recognition Policy for Fraternities and Sororities. The revocation is for a period of no less than five years, and the chapter house must be vacated by March 31, 2011.
This decision was taken as sufficient facts became available that warranted action by the university. At this time, the information provided to the university indicates that George Desdunes, 19, was provided alcohol while in the care of certain members and associate members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, and became incapacitated. Even though the members and associate members recognized the condition Desdunes was in, they failed to call for medical care. He subsequently died.
A comprehensive investigation regarding all the circumstances surrounding this loss of life continues under the direction of the Ithaca Police Department, with the support of the New York State Police and Cornell Police. As we are able, we will continue to inform the community and share decisions regarding any further action. The university will invite a campus conversation, after spring break, about the implications of this tragedy, in keeping with Cornell's aspirations as a caring community where the struggles of one of us are a concern for all of us.
The university will assist members who need to find alternative housing by making campus housing available. Additional instructions will be provided to facilitate this.
The loss of University recognition is the loss of any and all privileges and benefits bestowed upon a recognized fraternity or sorority, including but not limited to those listed below. Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity must:
If recognition is requested and approved at any point following the five-year period, the chapter would remain on probationary recognition for an additional period of no less than three calendar years.