University of Michigan fraternity council cancels all Greek Life activities
The University of Michigan’s student-run Interfraternity Council has suspended all Greek Life social activities and new member education programs in the wake of multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, hazing and drug use.
The decision was made during the IFC’s Thursday night meeting with several fraternity presidents, The Michigan Daily, the university’s student newspaper, first reported after attending the meeting.
In addition to sexual misconduct claims involving fraternity brothers, the allegations include six instances of hazing, more than 30 hospital transports during the Oct. 7 football game against Michigan State University, as well as seven more hospital transports during Halloween weekend, The Daily reported.
The report also outlined "multiple allegations of drugging members in undisclosed fraternity chapters and three specific hazing allegations reported this week where fraternity members were put in alleged near-death situations."
An unapproved “Champagne and Shackles” event also allegedly took place last weekend, in which dates at a party were reportedly handcuffed to each other until the couples finish a full bottle of champagne, according to the paper.
The university is actively investigating the allegations outlined in The Daily’s report, University of Michigan spokeswoman Kim Broekhuizen told NBC News. No further details were revealed Friday afternoon, and the university was unable to confirm specific allegations reported by The Daily.
“The first concern is the safety of our students,” she said in an email. “The university will continue to work with the student leaders in our Greek Life community to create a safe environment for all students on the U-M campus.”
The school-wide suspension includes a ban on social events, including mixers and date parties, hazing rituals for new pledges and general fraternity meetings involving alcohol, The Daily reported. Social activities that have already been paid for will still be allowed to take place, but only after submitting bank statements and plans for sobriety monitors at the functions.
“We believe that social events are a privilege, and we, as a community, have not earned this privilege at this time,” Alec Mayhan, the executive vice president of the university’s IFC, said in a statement. “We will immediately begin the process of assessing our policies and practices developing a formal plan going forward.”
Eighty students reported instances of sexual assault between July 2015 and June 2016, according to a report from the university’s Office of Institutional Equity.
The North-American Interfraternity Conference, which works with local on-campus IFC organizations but does not govern them, commended the decision.
“At Michigan, we are seeing students take responsibility for their community, showing commitment to student safety and peer governance,” spokeswoman Heather Kirk said in a statement. “This is an important step, and the NIC strongly supports students working in concert with the university, national fraternity organizations, and other important stakeholders toward a safer U-M community.”
After reports of wild fraternity parties in 2015, University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel said the university's Greek Life organizations needed to behave more responsibly.
"It's not my ambition to get rid of fraternities and sororities," Schlissel said after a speech to the Detroit Economic Club at the time. "There's a tremendous amount of positive they bring to our campus."
But Schlissel warned that student participation "may naturally wither and people may want to stop joining" the groups, he said. “There is a culture problem not only among students of Greek Life but significantly inside of Greek Life having to do with the overuse of alcohol, which really does need to be moderated.”