ANN ARBOR, MI – After a self-imposed suspension of all social and new member activities, the University of Michigan’s Interfraternal Council announced Wednesday, Jan. 3, that it would begin phasing in restoration of social privileges.
A letter from the IFC Wednesday noted that after extensive review to identify policies and practices needing improvement within the community, fraternities can begin a phased process in which chapters are notified of specific action plans they will need to complete.
The IFC used this review, working in conjunction with UM’s Office of Greek Life, to identify necessary areas of improvement and develop reforms to address them on a chapter by chapter basis.
The IFC will permit philanthropic events and necessary chapter business, such as chapter and executive board meetings, to continue as long as they are compliant with IFC regulations, including the Social Environment Management Policy.
The IFC also is aiming to increase safety and security for its community members by removing hard alcohol from all IFC-sanctioned events, limiting days that social events may be held and increasing the number of Sober Monitors required at all IFC-sanctioned social events.
UM Spokesperson Kim Broekhuizen said the phasing in of social events is the next step in the process the IFC outlined in the fall. Because the suspension of social activities was an IFC decision, she referred to its online statement for further comment.
“These steps are being taken to ensure that IFC-sanctioned social events foster safe and inclusive environments for all University of Michigan community members,” the letter states.
Formal recruitment for the Winter 2018 semester also will continue as scheduled, beginning Jan. 9, the letter indicated.
“As detailed in the IFC bylaws, this is a period dedicated to values-based recruitment, and therefore it is expected that recruitment will continue to be alcohol-free,” the letter states.
In November, the IFC voted to suspend all social and new member activity as it investigated several incidents related to Greek life including allegations of hazing and sexual misconduct, the Michigan Daily reported from a meeting of the IFC.
The local governing body for National Interfraternity Conference fraternity chapters at UM outlined several disturbing incidents alleged to have taken place in fraternities across campus.
Those allegations included “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,” the Michigan Daily reported.
The suspension had included a ban on social events like mixers and date parties, hazing activities with new pledges — including lineups — and general brotherhood meetings involving alcohol.
Following the IFC’s announcement, Ann Arbor police officials said they were lacking leads to help them investigate allegations of wrongdoing at some University of Michigan fraternities.
Chapter action plans were determined on an individual chapter basis through a review conducted by the IFC Executive Board, the IFC letter stated. 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. However, the necessary final approval will be made at the discretion of the IFC Executive Board.
According to the letter, IFC chapters will be removed from social suspension once they have fulfilled their assigned action plan and have received approval from the IFC Executive Board. As a result, chapters may regain social event privileges at different times depending on their ability to satisfy all requirements.
Chapters that are unable to fulfill or violate stipulations within their action plans, will be referred to the Greek Activities Review Panel by the IFC Executive Board for sanctioning. These sanctions may include, but are not limited to, restrictions on new member recruitment, further social event restrictions, removal of IFC recognition or IFC and university recommendation to international organizations that charters be removed.
“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 IFC letter states.