LSA sophomore Matt Fidel, The Team’s candidate for Central Student Government vice president, participated in a ski trip during which members of his fraternity Sigma Alpha Mu, as well as sorority Sigma Delta Tau, reportedly caused at least $85,000 in damages, campaign manager Jacob Abudaram, an LSA junior, confirmed to The Michigan Daily last week.
Last month, over Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, several ski trips hosted by six University Greek life chapters caused over $100,000 in damage to two Michigan ski resorts and were suspended by their national chapters. The participants are also facing an investigation by the Michigan State Police, and the possibility of University sanctions.
Last month, CSG collaborated with both the Interfraternity Council and the Panhellenic Association to release a public apology on behalf of the Greek organizations involved in the incident.
Abudaram, Fidel and running mate Will Royster, an LSA junior and CSG presidential candidate, agreed to an interview with the Daily on Wednesday night with the knowledge that it would include discussion of the incident.
Prior to the interview, Abudaram and Fidel both told the Daily that there would be questions Fidel could not answer specifically about the involvement of his fraternity for legal reasons, but that he would discuss his own sentiments about the incident.
Upon being told the Daily would still like to ask questions about Fidel’s involvement in the incident, with the understanding that Fidel and Royster could decline to comment whenever they deemed necessary, Abudaram told a reporter they would leave the interview if those questions were asked.
Until the reporter agreed not to ask questions about Fidel’s individual involvement, Abudaram and Fidel would not continue the interview.
Fidel, who also serves on the Social Responsibility Committee for SAM, did comment on the fallout of the trip overall. However, he said the ski trip incident was shameful, and not characteristic of University Greek life.
“The ski trip incident was an embarrassing and shameful event that was not representative of Michigan Greek life, weren’t representative of the individual fraternities and sororities that we were apart and weren’t representative of who I am,” he said.
Fidel also said he and his fraternity are doing their best to move forward from the incident through charity and other philanthropic work.
“We’re doing our best to right our wrongs and rectify the situation,” he said. “After the incident, I led my fraternity in community service projects, coordinated with Habitat for Humanity to send 50 volunteers to volunteer.”
Fidel also told the Daily that SAM has cooperated with the Detroit Partnership and will send 30 to 40 members of the fraternity to volunteer at a soup kitchen after Spring Break.
Though he did not refer specifically to the incident, Royster said he is confident in Fidel both as a partner and a leader on campus.
“Matt is just an incredible leader and an incredible guy,” Royster said. “The fact that he is really using CSG as a catalyst to drive social change on campus really shows that he does care.”
Overall, Fidel said, he didn’t think the ski resort incident would impact the campaign.
“Will and I have some great ideas for this campus,” he said. “As I said before, those actions don’t reflect on me and don’t reflect on our campaign. I think that as long as we strive to maintain our goals, that’s all we can do.”