Zeta Beta Tau revokes charter of U-M chapter over hazing

Zeta Beta Tau revokes charter of U-M chapter

ANN ARBOR, MICH. - For the second time in less than a decade, the University of Michigan's Zeta Beta Tau fraternity has had its charter revoked.

“Through the course of this investigation it became clear that members were violating various Fraternity policies, including those which prohibit hazing,” a statement from the national organization said. 

Hazing was among the issues, the statement said.

"Zeta Beta Tau ended pledging in 1989 as a safeguard against hazing," the statement read. "We were the first fraternity to do so. The actions of the brothers of the Colony at the University of Michigan violated our policies and acted in ways antithetical to our mission and values. Health and safety is a top priority of Zeta Beta Tau, and we are committed to facilitating a positive fraternity experience."

University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said the decision was made by the fraternity's national organization and U-M's Dean of Students office would work with the affected students.

The fraternity was in the process of being recolonized, or restored to campus, Fitzgerald said.

It had been banned in 2012 for similar concerns and added back as an official chapter in 2016.

The move comes as all fraternities on Michigan's campus are being given the go-ahead to slowly resume social activities following an eight-week self-imposed ban. The ban was issued by the Interfraternity Council after numerous reports of wild parties, sexual assault and hazing this fall. 

"As an Interfraternity Council community, we believe in holding our members to a high
standard at the University of Michigan. It has come to our attention that some members of the Interfraternity Council community have not been living up to these standards," Alec Mayhan, IFC executive vice president said in a statement when the ban was announced.

The restoration doesn't mean all parties are back on.

"The phased process will involve chapters being notified of specific action plans they will need to complete," the IFC wrote in announcing the restoration of social activities.

"Chapter action plans were determined on an individual chapter basis through a review conducted by the IFC Executive Board. These action plans were designed to guide chapters to effectively address their specific needs. Chapters must fulfill all parts of their assigned action plan to regain social event privileges.

"We are confident that the 27 chapters of IFC will take the necessary steps to address the chapter policies and practices to more fully comply with expectations for the management of social events. These steps also will allow IFC chapters to foster more safe and inclusive environments for all University of Michigan community members. In doing so, it is our intention that chapter conduct will better reflect the values held by IFC."

The ban had included all parties at fraternity houses, which are located just off campus. and the induction of new members, unless the various national organizations are in town to supervise activities.

U-M has had issues in the past with fraternities, leading to U-M President Mark Schlissel calling on Greek life to reform itself in a speech in 2015,  following reports of wild parties involving fraternity members.

"It's not my ambition to get rid of fraternities and sororities," Schlissel told reporters after a speech to the Detroit  Economic Club in 2015. "There's a tremendous amount of positive they bring to our campus."

But unless "the students moderate some of the risky behavior ... they may naturally wither and people may want to stop joining them," Schlissel said. “There is a culture problem not only among students of Greek life but significantly inside of Greek life having to do with the overuse of alcohol, which really does need to be moderated.”

Contact David Jesse: 313-222-8851 or djesse@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter: @reporterdavidj

© 2018 Detroit Free Press


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