MOUNT PLEASANT, MICH. - Authorities are investigating a Central Michigan University hazing incident in which a member of an off-campus fraternity smeared peanut butter on the face of a student with a peanut allergy while he was passed out, according to the victim's mother and the university.
“He could have been killed,” Teresa Seely, the mother of now-former-CMU student Andrew Seely, wrote in a Facebook post this morning.
The incident happened in October, but Teresa Seely said her son kept the matter to himself until telling family Tuesday night. Now, she said, she wants parents and others to know about what happened to her 19-year-old son, who completed one semester at the Mt. Pleasant school before transferring because of the incident. She declined to identify the new school to protect her son from potential retaliation.
“Our family is devastated,” Teresa Seely told the Free Press this afternoon. “We thought we were sending our child off to school in a safe environment, and obviously that wasn’t the case. He could have died from this. He has a deadly peanut allergy.”
University spokeswoman Heather Smith said today that school officials are investigating the incident, but campus police have no jurisdiction because the fraternity where it is alleged to have happened, Alpha Chi Rho, is located in a house off campus. Mt. Pleasant Police said today that they have yet to receive a report on the incident.
Smith said the university is investigating for potential violations of the student code of conduct, violations of which carry penalties including suspensions and permanent dismissal in serious cases.
The fraternity was banned from official recognition for hazing incidents in 2011, and Smith said its bids for reinstatement as late as last fall were denied by the university and its interfraternity council.
“We’re trying to learn more,” Smith said. “We take these types of matters seriously, and it will be pursued very thoroughly.”
Representatives of the national Alpha Chi Rho fraternity couldn’t be reached immediately for comment this afternoon.
Teresa Seely said her son, a 2016 graduate of Marysville High School in St. Clair County, began attending Central last fall, studying accounting. She said it wasn’t clear why Andrew Seely didn’t notify family when the incident happened, but she said it may have been out of a sense of fear of alienating friends.
Teresa Seely said her son was treated at a campus health clinic but is “lucky to be alive” because of the severity of his allergy.
Detroit Free Press