Brothers of the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity, according to texts and a Freedom of Information Act report acquired by The Ann Arbor News, ran a “40-yard dash” atop new members’ backs, an incident resulting in the fraternity’s eventual removal from campus after a University of Michigan Interfraternity Council vote earlier this month.
The vote came about after Hazing Response Team’s investigation of Alpha Sigma Phi regarding allegations of dangerous hazing activities. IFC determined to remove the fraternity for a minimum of five years.
Alpha Sigma Phi was also one of the fraternities who disaffiliated from IFC in September to form an independent Ann Arbor Interfraternity Council. According to an IFC statement, this was due to changes in city zoning laws in July.
In text exchanges between the fraternity members, they describe a potentially serious injury befalling a student after the dash. Some members expressed surprise and regret about this incident, while others attributed it to the accepted risks of a hazing process called Hell Week. One member described the dash as a “normal” part of the process.
“We had people run our backs during our hell week,” a member said in a group message. “That doesn’t mean it’s a tradition or a (good) idea, but it means (it’s) become normalized by us.”
The University’s Office of Greek Life received these text messages and emails regarding the incident in an envelope last semester. The office turned over the envelope to the Ann Arbor Police Department in March. The case was dropped because the supposed victim did not comply with the investigation, and his parents claimed to police he wasn’t injured.
Danny Miller, the international senior director of prevention and accountability at Alpha Sigma Phi, told MLive the fraternity voluntarily disaffiliated from IFC before any hearings occurred regarding allegations against the chapter.
The University, however, began its investigation while the fraternity was still an active member of the IFC. Because it began at this time, IFC continued the investigation despite Alpha Sigma Phi’s disaffiliation.
As a result of this investigation, Miller told MLive some fraternity officers were removed from their positions and the chapter hired a live-in house director.