Interfraternity Council suspends all fraternity social activity in midst of hazing, assault allegations

The Interfraternity Council suspended social events in a meeting in Rackham Thursday evening.

The Interfraternity Council suspended social events in a meeting in Rackham Thursday evening. Buy this photo
Emma Richter/Daily

 

Thursday, November 9, 2017 - 8:32pm

Presidents of several University of Michigan fraternities convened at a meeting Thursday night to discuss the future of the Interfraternity Council — the governing body of National Interfraternity Conference fraternity chapters at the University. Those in attendance at the meeting voted to suspend all social activities and new member pledge terms pending investigation of several incidents in Greek life.

In the meeting, attended by The Daily, the IFC executive council outlined several events that have taken place in fraternities across campus that led to the decision to suspend all social events. The allegations include: claims of sexual misconduct cases involving fraternity brothers, six incidents of reported hazing, more than 30 hospital transports for students during the weekend of the football game against Michigan State as well as seven called during Halloween weekend, an unauthorized “Champagne and Shackles” event — in which dates at a party are handcuffed to one another until the two people finish a full bottle of champagne — which transpired this past weekend, 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.

The suspension includes a ban on social events like mixers and date parties, initiation activities with new pledges — including lineups — and general brotherhood meetings involving alcohol.

After the IFC meeting ended, The Daily obtained two emails that were sent to Delta Phi Epsilon and Alpha Epsilon Phi members confirming the decision of the council.

In the meeting, IFC members urged the committee to vote in favor of the suspension because if the suspension was mandated by the University or the North-American Interfraternity Council, IFC would have no say in when the suspension is removed. With this decision, the council itself can determine when the suspension will be lifted. IFC executives made it clear this suspension is not being taken lightly.

In an email, however, Heather Kirk, chief communication officer for the North-American Interfraternity Conference, said the NIC does not mandate campus or chapter action.

Date parties and social activities that have already been paid for will still be allowed to take place — but, according to the executive board, these events will have to submit bank statements and official plans for sober monitors at the events.

Chris DeEulis, assistant director of Greek life and IFC adviser, clarified the definition of a social event as to imagine an impartial source was looking at an event and it looked like a fraternity-sponsored social event, and therefore would be in violation of the suspension.

In a statement sent to the Daily after the time of publication, IFC Executive Vice President, Alec Mayhan, stressed that the decision made by the council tonight was a measure taken to address these serious allegations before resuming social events.

"As an Interfraternity Council community, we believe in holding our members to a high standard at the University of Michigan," Mayhan wrote. "It has come to our attention that some members of the Interfraternity Council community have not been living up to these standards... We believe that social events are a privilege, and we, as a community, have not earned this privilege at this time. We will immediately begin the process of assessing our policies and practices and developing a formal plan going forward."

The suspension also mandates a halt on initiation activities for current pledges. According to the executives, NIC will be coming to fraternities and initiating the pledges in the coming weeks.  However, Kirk said the NIC cannot initiate members into fraternities. Kirk said this is not the role of the NIC. 

According to a report from the University Office for Institutional Equity, 80 sexual assault cases were reported between July 2015 and June 2016.

Earlier this week, Florida State University fraternities and sororities suspended all activities after a fraternity pledge was killed and another fraternity member was arrested on drug charges.

University spokesperson Kim Broekhuizen wrote to the Daily that they are waiting to hear from IFC. 

"We are trying to reach the IFC leadership to confirm," she wrote. "As you know, IFC leaders are students and this is part of their self-governance function."

Members of IFC did not respond to requests for comment at the time of publication.

This article has been updated to include information from the North-American Interfraternity Conference Chief Communication Officer.

This article has been updated to include a statement from the IFC Executive Vice President

This is a developing story. Check back at michigandaily.com for more details

The photo attached to the article has been updated to reflect that the social events of all IFC fraternities have been suspended, and not just Theta Delta Chi.