I don’t think I am being unduly harsh in saying that this
incredibly stupid thing to do:
U.S. Forest Service investigators were on
week to question Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity members about an Oct.
11 incident at the Lower Gallinas Campground in which a tree was cut
down and burned along with plastic chairs and several other items,
according to an NMSU police report.
A road was also blocked and a large amount of trash was left at the
Forest service officers pulled several documents with the SAE
letterhead from the fire. The report states an unspecified number of
fraternity members have pending federal charges against them.
Down the House
Gallinas is a part of the Gila National Forest.
The National Forest also contains the Gila Wilderness, which
was established in 1924 as the first
designated wilderness in the country. To be clear,
the Gallinas Canyon is not in the part of the National Forest
that is a designated wilderness, but it is heavily wooded, and a bit
dry this time of year. Not a good place to be chopping
down trees and setting them on fire.
To give some perspective on the sheer insanity of what they did, here
are some photos from the National Park Service (before the crime):
Flickr has a couple of photos tagged Gallinas Canyon here.
Simply cutting down a tree there is illegal. Setting it on
illegal and stupid. Burning plastic chairs with it is
and toxic. Leaving behind trash with charred letterhead that identifies
illegal, stupid, and stupid.
In addition to Federal criminal charges, the frat has lost its charter.
The boys have to move out of the house. However,
the University said that the revocation of the fraternity charter was not
due to the desecration of the National Forest. Evidently
there have been other problems, but the University would not say
exactly what the problems were. Clearly the SAE chapter
should lose their charter twice.
Oh, and the Fraternity vice-president has been arrested for selling
UPDATE: I forgot to include the Fraterity Creed, which is on
True Gentleman is the man whose conduct proceeds from good will and an
acute sense of propriety, and whose self-control is equal to all
emergencies; who does not make the poor man conscious of his poverty,
the obscure man of his obscurity, or any man of his inferiority or
deformity; who is himself humbled if necessity compels him to humble
another; who does not flatter wealth, cringe before power, or boast of
his own possessions or achievements; who speaks with frankness but
always with sincerity and sympathy; whose deed follows his word; who
thinks of the rights and feelings of others, rather than his own; and
who appears well in any company, a man with whom honor is sacred and
–John Walter Wayland (Virginia Omicron