Winterfest to be hosted by different fraternity following past host’s removal from campus

Sunday, February 17, 2019 - 6:26pm

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Design by Sherry Chen

Winterfest, a tournament-style annual philanthropic event where different members of fraternities and sororities play broomball for charity, will be hosted on Feb 23 by the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity (PIKE). Last year, Winterfest was hosted on the property of PIKE and sponsored by Alpha Sigma Phi, but after Alpha Sigma Phi was banned from campus, PIKE picked up the event.

Fraternities who are members of the Interfraternity Council and sororities in the Panhellenic Association can participate by donating money to play in the tournament. The money raised will be donated to the Autism Alliance of Michigan. As of Sunday evening, the general Winterfest campaign has raised over 29,000 dollars of their 60,000 dollar goal.

While Alpha Sigma Phi has hosted the event in the past, the Interfraternity Council recently banned Alpha Sigma Phi from campus for five years after it was discovered several generations of its members had participated in dangerous hazing incidents, according to Dean of Students Laura Blake Jones. One alleged incident involved a ‘40-yard dash’ across new members’ backs.

Rumors that Alpha Sigma Phi was initially supposed to host the event circulated early in the winter semester, but The Daily could not independently confirm these rumors.

Nick Wasik, IFC president and LSA junior, declined to comment on the record. Shannon Cohen, Associate Director from the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

All IFC and Panhellenic Association members are partnered with a charity of their choice as part of their philanthropic efforts. Autism Alliance of Michigan was Alpha Sigma Phi’s charity, but PIKE will still donate funds from Winterfest to Autism Alliance of Michigan. PIKE’s philanthropic partner is Taylor Trudeau Cycle for Life, a charity in honor of former University of New Hampshire and PIKE brother who died of leukemia in 2008.

Controversy surrounding Alpha Sigma Phi’s alleged involvement led to sororities in the Panhellenic Association initially deciding not to participate in this year’s event.

LSA junior Taylor Fegan, president of the Panhellenic Association, said Alpha Sigma Phi’s hosting would have violated social and community policies the Panhellenic Association adheres to.

“Alpha Sigma Phi is a chapter that has been expelled from the University for cause,” Fegan said. “Because of that, it violates our policies and our community policies to participate in events that are hosted by organizations or chapters that are not recognized by the University or have been expelled from the University.”

The IFC and Panhellenic Association Social Policy rules state that chapters must be in good standing with the University to host events. Sponsorship of events with groups who are on social probation, have been expelled or disaffiliated from the University violates the social policy.

“Sponsorship or co-sponsorship by or with any group that meets one or more of the following specifications is forbidden: An organization that is currently on social probation; An organization that has been suspended or expelled from the Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Association, Multicultural Greek Council, or National Pan-Hellenic Council; An organization that has been suspended or has had its charter revoked by its respective National or International organization; A group without recognition from its university; An organization that does not have liability insurance,” the social policy reads.

Since PIKE is now hosting the event, Panhellenic chapters are allowed to participate with chapter discretion. PIKE’s status as a member of the IFC makes them obliged to follow all IFC social policy rules.

Fegan said all Panhellenic chapters are encouraged to donate to the cause, but can individually decide whether they want to participate in the broomball tournament.

“All Panhellenic chapters are encouraged to donate to this cause in supporting Autism Alliance of Michigan,” Fegan said. “But participating in the broomball tournament is up to each chapter’s discretion.”

Fraternities who are disaffiliated from the University or have been expelled for cause cannot participate in the event. Only IFC affiliated fraternities can take part in the tournament.

Fraternities who are members of the Interfraternity Council and conditional members of the Ann Arbor Interfraternity Council are permitted to participate. Over the summer, six fraternities, including Alpha Sigma Phi, disaffiliated from the University and formed the AAIFC, which is independent of the University. The fraternities said the reasoning was for changes to the city zoning codes on properties and the deferred rush.

Business junior Michael Salciccioli, President of AAIFC, declined to comment because Winterfest is not an AAIFC sponsored event.

The Social Responsibility Committee, which ensures social and safety standards are being followed during events involving members of IFC, will be attending the parties hosted around campus on the day of Winterfest to ensure the safety of all students. Grace Slifkin, LSA junior and vice president of the Social Responsibility Committee for the Panhellenic Association, commented on the SRC protocol to ensure the safety of students.

“We have 12 SRC teams going out on that day and each are made up of two people,” Slifkin said. “So those two people go to the events and check for compliance with the social policy which involved things like no kegs, no hard liquor, that the hosting chapters have adequate sober monitors and social liaisons, that they’re using a guest list for check in.”

This year, students will need wristbands to enter the tournament grounds. Slifkin said wristbands will be distributed to all affiliated fraternity and sorority chapters prior to the event.

“The darties (day time parties) need to have a guest list per the social policy,” Slifkin said. “The physical broomball tournament does not have a guest list, but only affiliated members of fraternity and sorority life and their guests will be getting wristbands to enter the winterfest broomball tournament.”

Slifkin reiterated that all disaffiliated fraternities will not be permitted to attend the tournament.

“This is an event put on by a chapter in IFC and per the social policy no events can be co-sponsored or held with disaffiliated fraternities,” Slifkin said. “So disaffiliated fraternities, if they were to come to this event, would jeopardize all of our affiliated chapters.”