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SAE chapter faces education programs following alcohol citations

Some members of those cited at party will participate in alcohol safety programs

In the wake of underage alcohol citations to some of its members, UMBC’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter plans undertake alcohol safety initiatives so as to learn from its mistake.

The chapter has undergone sanctions handed down from the fraternity’s national headquarters, according to chapter president Mohammad Marzooghian. All active members of the chapter will conduct several alcohol safety educational programs and events.

These sanctions stem from a party that occurred at a house rented by an active SAE member as well as two graduated members in Elkridge on Saturday, March 28. The Howard County police responded to a neighbor’s complaint and cited 55 individuals for underage drinking. According to Marzooghian,  five of those cited were active members of the UMBC SAE chapter.

“In conjunction with the whole chapter, those individuals specifically who attended the party are leading these educational programs and educating the entire chapter on alcohol safety and proper social planning,” Marzooghian said. “We will be holding information sessions for 100 percent of the chapter to review safe policies, and we will be working in collaboration with UMBC’s Greek Affairs office to host a mock social event to further educate our members on proper social planning and safety.”

The chapter will also host a campus-wide alcohol awareness program early next semester. They will receive support for the program from the Fraternal Health and Safety Initiative, an organization dedicated to supporting character development and safety practices by fraternities and sororities.

Marzooghian, a junior computer engineering major, described the incident as “a lapse in judgment” and expressed a resolve to rectify the situation.

“Within 24 hours, we had filed an incident report with our National Office, and remained honest and forthright throughout the investigation,” he said. “Every brother in my chapter fully accepts these sanctions, and we are looking forward to making up for this incident,” said Marzooghian.

As part of the sanctions handed down by the National Office, the UMBC chapter will undertake a series of alcohol safety education programs. Furthermore, according to Marzooghian, those directly involved in the incident will play a large role in these programs.

Howard County police reported the house where the party took place as rented to SAE’s UMBC chapter. Jim Lotfi, a volunteer alumnus who oversees SAE’s Maryland chapters, stated that two UMBC alumni and one current member rent the house.

The Washington Post quoted Lotfi as saying that SAE did not host the party, and that SAE expects its members to refrain from serving alcohol to individuals under the age of 21. This rule applies even at unofficial social events, according to Lotfi.

Marzooghian stated that he expects the incident to ultimately prove a constructive experience for the fraternity. He described it as an opportunity to properly address the broader issue of college alcohol safety.

“Instead of shying away from this, we plan to meet it head on and not only help our own members learn and become wiser and safer, but also to reach out to the whole community,” said Marzooghian. “We hope that with these programs, and by having these important dialogues, we will never have a similar incident in the future.”

Editor’s note: In the original version of this article, we referred to the overseer of SAE’s MD chapters as “Jim Lofti,” not his correctly-spelled name, Jim Lotfi. We regret the error.

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