University officials confirmed that a parent’s e-mail to the Office of Greek Life prompted the suspension of the University chapter of Sigma Alpha Epilson fraternity due to hazing allegations.

The e-mail, which detailed specific hazing activities that the parent’s son endured, sparked the Office of Greek Life’s investigation of the fraternity, University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald confirmed last night. The University’s Interfraternity Council and the fraternity’s national organization, which is in the process of reviewing the University’s chapter, suspended SAE last week.

“The University has not disclosed the details of that e-mail communication,” Fitzgerald said. “It was sent to us in confidence and we have kept it in confidence.”

In a Feb. 11 AnnArbor.com article, the specifics of the e-mail were described. In the e-mail, the parent claimed that the fraternity’s pledges suffered verbal and physical abuse in the form of shouted insults, kicks to the groin and tennis balls lobbed at them by fraternity members using hockey sticks.

According to the AnnArbor.com article, SAE pledges were also forced to participate in late-night activities including doing push-ups, wall-sits and relay races in which fraternity members attempted to impede them by coating the floor with liquids, shooting airsoft guns and tripping them with brooms.

“I didn’t find anything inaccurate in the (AnnArbor.com) article,” Chris Haughee, assistant director of the University’s Office of Greek Life, wrote in an e-mail to The Michigan Daily.

Brandon Weghorst, associate executive director of communications for the SAE national organization, said he couldn’t disclose the e-mail’s contents because of the current investigation.

LSA sophomore Sean Jackson, the Interfraternity Council’s vice president for public relations, also said he couldn’t confirm the specifics of the parent’s e-mail.

“At this point in time, the confidentiality of those parties involved is the primary concern of the University,” Jackson said.

According to Jackson, SAE nationals are currently conducting membership reviews in order to determine the chapter’s future. The University is currently working in conjunction with the SAE national organization to investigate the allegations.

The membership review consists of “talking with chapter members and through those interviews deciding whether or not those members are upholding the chapter values set forth by the national organization,” Jackson said.

Weghorst said the membership review process includes inquiries into the hazing allegations and that corrective actions will be taken if necessary.

“Our leaders mean business,” Weghorst said. “They’re serious about making sure our members adhere to our principles and our creed.”

University policy, according to the Office of Greek Life website, defines hazing as “any action or situation, with or without consent of the participants, which recklessly, intentionally, or unintentionally endangers the mental, physical, or academic health of a student.”

The policy states that the Hazing Task Force, made up of members of the University’s Greek community, must interview chapter members about such allegations. The task force then determines from those interviews if the evidence is sufficient to pass the complaint onto the Greek Activities Review Panel, which is the University’s judicial body for the Greek community.

“In terms of any actions with regard to the chapter, that will be a joint operation between the University and the nationals, and at this point in time, information is still filtering in,” Jackson said.

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