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Fraternity social activities suspended at University of Michigan

Fraternities at the University of Michigan have suspended social activities amid hazing and sexual misconduct allegations. (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
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A student-led council at the University of Michigan has suspended social activities at the school’s fraternities, a decision that came amid allegations of hazing and sexual misconduct.

The school’s student newspaper, the Michigan Daily, reported on those allegations and on the Interfraternity Council meeting where the suspension of social activities was imposed Thursday evening. The council governs most fraternity chapters at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

The Interfraternity Council’s executive vice president, Alec Mayhan, said in a statement that the council believes in holding members to a high standard, and is aware that some in its 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,” he wrote in the statement. “We will immediately begin the process of assessing our policies and practices and developing a formal plan going forward.”

All social activities and new member education programs have been suspended, the statement said. The plan was proposed by the council’s executive board, and voted on by chapter presidents so “we can take proactive steps through self-governance to improve our community,” it read.

“We are taking time to focus on the health and safety of our members and our community, and we are committed to working with the university, our peers, alumni and national partners to do so,” Mayhan said in the statement.

In its report, the Michigan Daily described the claims that led to the move, writing:

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.

Kim Broekhuizen, a university spokeswoman, said in an email that the school was investigating the allegations laid out in the Michigan Daily’s story. She explained that all social activities have stopped in fraternity houses, but the houses remain open.

New member activities have also stopped, Broekhuizen said, except when officials from national organizations visit the Ann Arbor campus to “initiate the new members in a supervised capacity.”

“The university ​will continue to work with the student leaders in our Greek life community to create a safe environment for ​all students ​on the U-M campus,” Broekhuizen said in an email.

The decision at Michigan comes just days after the president at Florida State University announced that fraternities and sororities at the school had been suspended indefinitely.

“For this suspension to end, there will need to be a new normal for Greek life at the university,” Florida State president John Thrasher said in the release. “There must be a new culture, and our students must be full participants in creating it.”

The decision at Florida State followed the death of a pledge and the drug-related criminal charge of a fraternity member. The two cases were not related.

Earlier this year, Maxwell Gruver, an 18-year-old Louisiana State University freshman, died after a gathering at a fraternity. And in February, Timothy Piazza, a Pennsylvania State University fraternity pledge, died after a party.

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