February 27, 2015
Topic: Campus News
The university announced today that it was taking decisive action against the fraternity and sorority responsible for the "reprehensible" behavior and vandalism at Treetops Resort near Gaylord the weekend of Jan.16-18.
The university will no longer recognize the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity and has placed the Sigma Delta Tau sorority on disciplinary suspension.
That determination, made by Dean of Students Laura Blake Jones, means the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity will be separated from the university for four years. Sigma Delta Tau sorority will be suspended for two years. She also accepted the recommendations of the Greek Activities Review Panel, the student-led judiciary body.
The university has asked the national office of Sigma Alpha Mu to revoke the charter of the U-M chapter and placed additional sanctions on the fraternity before it could again become of part of Greek Life on campus.
The university informed the student leaders of the affected fraternities and sororities today by providing them letters that outline the sanctions.
Today's actions stem from the university's process for student groups. The university remains committed to using all means available to hold individuals accountable for the vandalism and related behavior under university policies that apply to individuals. There also is an ongoing investigation by the Michigan State Police.
President Mark Schlissel reiterated his "profound disappointment" in the actions of these students.
"I want to express my deep appreciation for the Greek Life student leaders who initiated the judicial process and for the university's Student Life team for addressing these situations firmly and fairly through our established process," the president said.
"I hope the broader Greek community can learn from this experience so they can continue to participate in the many positive aspects of Greek Life while avoiding extreme, risky and inappropriate behaviors. It's important that we allow this process to move forward."
The university also issued sanctions against the two fraternities and two sororities responsible for damages that same weekend at Boyne Highland Resort near Harbor Springs. Those damages were determined not to be malicious.
The Greek organizations at Boyne — Pi Kappa Alpha and Chi Psi fraternities and Alpha Phi and Delta Gamma sororities — will face formal written reprimands, restricted activities and required restorative measures.
Sigma Alpha Mu
In her letter to Sigma Alpha Mu, Jones said, "We are extremely disappointed by the reprehensible behavior and failure of groups to come forward with information regarding the individuals who are responsible for the incident. We strongly believe that individuals should accept responsibility for their actions."
Her letter also requires that the fraternity's current officers meet with Jones and the dean, associate deans and assistant deans of their respective schools and colleges to discuss university expectations of leadership and accountability.
"The behavior of members of Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity members … was reprehensible and has caused extensive harm to the community of Gaylord, to the University of Michigan and to the Greek Life community as a whole," Jones wrote. "The behavior was clearly outside the boundaries of the values and expectations of the University of Michigan and simultaneously violated the Sigma Alpha Mu Fraternity mission statement."
Sigma Delta Tau
In her letter to Sigma Delta Tau, Jones notes that sorority members' failure to officially report or stop acts of vandalism "contributed to the destructive behavior" during the weekend.
"This egregious behavior and failure to act are inconsistent with the University of Michigan's standards of conduct for student organizations and for members of the student body. Similarly, failure to take group accountability for chapter members' behavior is not acceptable."
Before Sigma Delta Tau could have the sanctions lifted, the university also expects the sorority to fully comply with a range of stipulations outlined in the university's written decision.
Those stipulations include: Taking full responsibility for sanctions outlined by the groups' national offices and the GARP process; paying full restitution to Treetops; participating in restorative measures in the Gaylord community; implementation of extensive alcohol and drug abuse, bystander intervention, sexual misconduct and risk management education programs approved by the university; regular supervision and contact with the Dean of Students Office throughout the period of separation.
In her letters to the fraternities and sororities responsible for damages at Boyne Highlands Resort, Jones said those groups — Pi Kappa Alpha and Chi Psi fraternities and Alpha Phi and Delta Gamma sororities — would continue with social probation through the current semester; be required to perform community service; participate in alcohol, bystander intervention and sexual misconduct educational programs; be prohibited from participating in overnight activities indefinitely.
"We are disappointed at the behavior of members of your organization at Boyne Highlands … that included poor planning, excessive occupancy of rooms and unusual wear and tear resulting in damage to the facilities.
"In issuing these sanctions we have noted that members of your organization did not engage in malicious destruction of property and have taken full accountability for their actions."