As a hotel manager picked through the wreckage this week, all he could say was, “Obviously, things got out of hand.”
Obviously. In all, two ski resorts were trashed at the hands of three rampaging Michigan fraternities, area managers said. At Treetops Resorts in northern Michigan, which housed Sigma Alpha Mu members last weekend, the damage was evident everywhere. They were also “very disruptive to additional guests,” general manager Barry Owens said, adding that the resort eventually had to call the police to dislodge the raucous frat boys.
After they left, the mark of Sigma Alpha Mu was inescapable. Ceilings were ripped apart, littering the carpet with rubble. And workers were left with days of repair jobs and at least $50,000 in damages from 120 people occupying about 45 rooms.
Thousands of dollars worth of additional damage also hit nearby Boyne Highlands Resort, where two additional frats allegedly ripped up 12 rooms, 9&10 News reported. Press reports did not name the two fraternities involved, nor offer many specifics.
“We had a group of fraternity [members] that was visiting and had an excessive party and did damage on the resort,” Owens, the Treetops general manager, told 9&10 News. “Food, beer, alcohol, the walls, carpet damage, ceiling broken down and furniture damage. … They had a series of rooms, a couple floors of rooms; obviously things got out of hand. We estimate the cleanup and damage is around $50,000.”
The extent of the wreckage went beyond monetary value for Owens. “We’re the stewards of the property, and it’s disturbing to us and we need to protect their investments,” he told 9&10 News. “We are following up with U of M, and they promised swift action.”
The university is already hot on the case. “These incidents simply do not reflect the University of Michigan’s values or its expectations,” Royster Harper, vice president for student life, said in a release. “… The university is investigating this fully and those responsible will be held accountable.”
On Thursday, the national office of Sigma Alpha Mu suspended its Michigan chapter “for an indefinite period,” according to a university statement reported by the Detroit Free Press. The Michigan State Police are investigating exactly what precipitated the wanton destruction.
Local frat chapter president Joshua Kaplan was quick to apologize. He called his frat “embarrassed and ashamed of the behavior,” and said his chapter “accepts full responsibility” and “will be working with the management of the resort to pay for all damages and cleaning costs.”
Owens said it will be some time before his hotel is back in shape. “They caused an excessive amount of damage,” he told the Free Press. “The rooms were just a pigsty. Unfortunately, I’ve been in this business for 30 years and it’s the worst condition of rooms that I’ve ever seen.”