Campus, News

BU suspends Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity

Boston University officials suspended the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity Monday after the fraternity’s national organization suspended the BU chapter amidst allegations of a party, which involved underage drinking, where a severely intoxicated individual was removed, officials said.

Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore said he received information Saturday afternoon from a student member of Sigma Alpha Mu that the national organization recommended BU’s chapter suspend its activities. Later that night, BU officials learned the national organization officially suspended BU’s chapter.

“The national organization actually suspended BU’s chapter based upon what they believed was information that Sigma Alpha Mu, at an off-campus location, a private residence, held a fraternity function that involved underage drinking where someone who was severely intoxicated was taken out of the space,” Elmore said.

Elmore said he notified BU’s Sigma Alpha Mu leaders their chapter would be suspended Monday.

“We’re also going to be engaged in our own investigation of the chapter in terms of whether potential further university action needs to be taken against individuals,” he said.

Early Saturday morning, College of Engineering freshman Tony Barksdale II died at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton after being transported from 22 Wadsworth St. in Allston, where the Sigma Alpha Mu function occurred.

Boston Police Department officials are investigating the circumstances of Barksdale’s death.

Elmore said the investigation will determine if the student removed for severe intoxication was Barksdale, who was a new member of Sigma Alpha Mu.

“All we know is that there was underage drinking and severe intoxication of at least one person,” Elmore said. “We were told one of the students who was at this function at 22 Wadsworth St. was taken out for medical treatment.”

Elmore said his staff as well as that of the Student Activities Office and the Office of Judicial Affairs will investigate the fraternity.

While the national organization might impose different consequences as a result of suspension, BU’s suspension means Sigma Alpha Mu is not allowed to function as a BU group, Elmore said.

“They are no longer permitted to officially act as a registered organization at the university,” he said. “That means that they can’t operate. They can’t initiate new members, they can’t be holding social functions or philanthropy. There’s not anything effectively they can do in any official capacity here at the university.”

Sigma Alpha Mu leaders and Interfraternity Council leaders did not respond to requests for comment. The Sigma Alpha Mu national organization also could not be reached for comment by press time.

“I’m really disappointed we had to do this — in terms of suspending the chapter — and I’m really disheartened,” Elmore said. “We spent a lot of time over the course of this last academic year discussing things like alcohol use and abuse, having bystander training where members of Sigma Alpha Mu were party to it, or their leadership was party to the conversation.”

Elmore said members and leaders of Sigma Alpha Mu had responded to and participated in dialogues about safe and appropriate alcohol use.

“We had conversations several times about the need to be smart and use our heads and look out for each other and make sure things like this were not occurring,” he said. “That’s what is particularly frustrating. That’s what is particularly disheartening and what is really disappointing is that we’ve got to go this route right now.”


  1. I spoke with Elmore years back about how medical amnesty was needed. He assured me that no student would ever let another get to the point of dying from alcohol without calling for medical attention, no matter what punishment they might get.

  2. Dean Elmore is delusional if he truly believes that

  3. I’ve spent a lot of time with Sigma Alpha Mu members and from what I’ve experienced, they’re a group of really, really great guys. I’m sure they’re going through a devastating time with the loss of their brother. I would love to know more specifics about what happened. As for now, the whole situation remains a little ambiguous and, while I understand that it may be appropriate for the Dean to take action on this, especially with the severity of what happened, I would like to know more details about it before I, or anyone else, assumes to know what actually happened that night.

    • I was a member of Sigma Alpha Mu at the University of Nebraska some 50 years ago.

      It was a mixed experience for me. There were aspects of fraternity life that were beneficial to me. And there were aspects that were frankly dispiriting and unbecoming.

      I observed that the SAM chapter at the University of Nebraska no longer exists, and the old SAM fraternity house there has recently been demolished to make way for a parking lot.

      In my days living with Sammies at the University of Nebraska half a century ago, I can honestly say some were great guys. And some, alas, were jerks.

  4. Why don’t you all go to the funeral and look into the eyes of the grieving mother if you don’t believe this!

    • This death has affected so. many. people within the BU community. I don’t think anyone is being at all flippant about him dying. It’s absolutely horrible that it happened.