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Posted on Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 6:01 a.m.

Parent e-mail alleging hazing of pledges led to University of Michigan fraternity's suspension

By David Jesse


The Sigma Alpha Epsilon house on Washtenaw Avenue in Ann Arbor.

Lon Horwedel |

Members of a University of Michigan fraternity poked pledges with broomsticks, kicked them in the groin and shot airsoft guns at them, a parent alleged in an e-mail to the university’s Office of Greek Life in late January.

The e-mail launched the investigation that  led to the suspension of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, by the university’s Interfraternity Council and the national organization, U-M spokesman Rick Fitzgerald confirmed Thursday. The Interfraternity Council is the governing body for fraternities at U-M.

“This suspension will remain in place until which time a membership review committee convenes to evaluate the status of each member, both active brothers and pledges,’ the national organization said in a statement. “During this time, chapter operations cease, and the suspension will remain in place until further notice. In addition, the future of this chapter's existence remains uncertain. Sigma Alpha Epsilon has a zero-tolerance policy for hazing, and members are expected to adhere to our stringent guidelines regarding risk management and pledge education.”

On Jan. 28, a concerned parent of a pledge e-mailed Mary Beth Seiler, the director of Greek Life at the university, with a laundry list of alleged hazing incidents.

“Although I expected there to be some degree of camaraderie building with the pledges, it instead seems that SAE’s pledge term is designed to instill the concepts of fear, degradation, punishment and shame,” the parent wrote. agreed to not name the parent, who wrote the e-mail anonymously to protect his or her son. The parent provided with a copy of the e-mail on Thursday afternoon. U-M officials confirmed they received the e-mail and launched an investigation afterward.

“On a regular basis, my son's pledge class was ordered to attend ‘line-ups,’ which typically occurred late at night after many of the fraternity members had been drinking excessively,” the parent wrote. “At these line-ups, pledges were yelled at and forced to recite various scriptures from the SAE pledge manual. If they hesitated or were incorrect in their attempts, the pledges were ordered by brothers to do ‘SAE pushups,’ spelling out the fraternity's initials at each physical increment of the pushup exercise. ‘Wall-sits’ were also a common form of punishment for the pledges. They were kept at these lineups for hours at a time, and often were sent downstairs into a small dungeon-like room called the ‘cold room’ where more brothers would yell at and insult the pledges.”

The parent wrote the e-mail to the university after January’s “hell week” at the fraternity, 1408 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor.

“In addition to being required to spend every waking moment of their days at the fraternity house, my son and those in his pledge class did indeed endure ‘hell’ on a nightly basis through a variety of ‘events,’” the parent wrote.

“One event was a relay-race of sorts, with the pledge class broken up into four teams. At the start, each person had to ‘chug’ a beer (some containing raw eggs) and proceed to run up three flights of stairs that had been adequately doused with dish soap, vegetable oil, Crisco, and other slippery substances — not to mention the various food items scattered about."

On the top floor, the pledges were subjected to more abuse as they ran down a hallway, the parent wrote.

“Brothers shot airsoft guns, threw eggs, poked and tripped them with broomsticks, poured buckets of flour on them, and did just about everything possible to slow them down …

The following night was dubbed Entertainment night, for which the pledges bought beer and pizza and paid for two strippers to entertain the fraternity members, then gave their own performance while brothers pelted them with eggs, the parent wrote.

“Some of the acts? Brothers taking hockey slap-shots at the pledge class using tennis balls as hockey pucks; two pledges drinking cups of water with goldfish, regurgitating them back out into a bowl, and another pledge drinking the remainder; and, the most disgusting of them all, brothers violently kicking pledges in the groin to ensure that they were wearing athletic support cups, which they were told to have on 24.7 throughout ‘hell week.’”

University policy forbids hazing.

“Hazing is defined as any action or situation, with or without consent of the participants, which recklessly, intentionally, or unintentionally endangers the mental, physical, or academic health of a student.

“Examples include but are not limited to, any brutality of a physical nature such as whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the elements, forced consumption of any food, liquid, drug, or other substance and any activity which would subject the student to extreme mental stress such as sleep deprivation, forced exclusion from social contact, impairment of physical liberties or interfering with the students academic endeavors.”

When U-M officials got the allegations, they shared them with the national office and began their own investigation, Fitzgerald said..

The IFC voted on Wednesday night to suspend the fraternity.

“It’s my understanding that in essence it stops the fraternity from acting as a fraternity,” Fitzgerald said.

Both IFC and the national office are conducting a chapter review, to determine if there were more hazing incidents at the local SAE chapter.

Fitzgerald said the university acted swiftly because hazing is a big concern.

“Hazing comprimises a student’s health and safety and will not be tolerated. I think you’re seeing that belief reflected in the action by the IFC and the national chapter.”

David Jesse covers higher education for He can be reached at or at 734-623-2534.



Mon, Feb 14, 2011 : 1:50 a.m.

I read a comment about sending the offending students to Ohio State. Nice redirect, by what's the point in pretending? There are a few undisputed facts. One, these students chose Michigan. Of all the places they could have gone, they wanted to be here. Two, Michigan chose them back. Michigan turns away many, many applicants, but these guys made the cut. These guys were acceptable (literally). For better or worse, they belong here. You have to acknowledge them as much as the superstar athlete or scholar. Michigan owns this mess, just as much as it owns all the good things that come from Ann Arbor.


Sun, Feb 13, 2011 : 2:25 a.m.

Some people commenting say that because the police and military brutalize their volunteer members, this proves the brutalizing is useful and "widely approved." Lets just face the fact: brutalizing human beings produces human beings who "know" being brutal is okay. How many examples of police crimes (including assaults and murders) do we need in order to KNOW this truth? Some of the same people with the above claim also say that anything but brutalization is "giving away" awards. Nonsense! Why couldn't these "tests" be in the form of written exams or questioning a student's abilities through other mental exercises? WHAT about confining people in a cellar makes them better students? There are many types of tests and contests which are not brutal but produce comradeship and high achievement: using those IN PLACE OF brutalizations is NOT "communism." The excuse used by the military for "tough training" which involves "tearing down to build up" - is based on the claim that soldiers, sailors and airmen must be able to withstand brutal treatment and brutal conditions. Maybe - but that's foreseeing duty in a WAR- but college fraternities are not going to war: they're going to COLLEGE. Saying that brutalization is "necessary and good" is using the SAME argument as wife beaters and child abusers use. I leave it you to decide about the character and honesty of the pro-brutalizers.

Omega Man

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 10:29 p.m.

As a Greek in the 70s, I did not discourage my daughter from joining a sorority at another university a couple of years ago. When she was exposed to hazing she did exactly what others have said to do when you are in danger or uncomfortable: beat feet. She then did the most amazing thing - at the next all sorority meeting, she stood up and spoke at length about why she joined a sorority, the lifelong relationships that her grandmothers, mother, and aunts had experienced and that women who care about each other don't treat each other like this. The responses that she got were that they liked doing this - that it made them feel more powerful,etc. And that it really was just for "fun". She resigned and has continued to take on other leadership roles on campus. Some organizations just don't get it and should be held accountable. Being a parent is not easy - each must choose when the incident merits going to a higher authority and when to let the student handle it on their own.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 9:29 p.m.

Sw40 wrote: "Nationally, 71% of all Greeks . . . " SW, though it's Latin, not Greek, I suggest you check out the definition of a post hoc ergo propter hoc logic error. Your post is the poster child. Good Night and Good Luck


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 1:03 p.m.

Whether you consider the rigorous training completed by this nation's armed service members as hazing or even torture, as some have suggested, it is inappropriate to compare it to the fraternity hazing that was reported in this article. Immaterial of whether you believe that fraternity hazing is a positive, character building exercise or a degrading bullying exercise, it is important that you consider who is 'supervising' the events being compared. In the case of the armed services, it is sober adults who are trained in their techniques and have access to appropriate intervention(s) to protect the participants as much as possible. Yes, people get seriously injured (and even die) during military training, but there is an effort to protect the participants. Contrast that to the Brothers overseeing their Hell Week activities. While I have no knowledge of this particular case, I would submit it is unlikely that these boys received any training (other than their own experience being hazed by others) in the potential dangers of the activities that they 'supervised' to build the characters of their youngest members. I would also bet that they were not sober. Should an accident occur during any hazing incident, the legal implications that would impact the fraternity and the brothers involved, are a major disincentive to seeking the immediate medical attention that is often required. The poor judgement shown in conducting the hazing is likely to be shown in recognizing and acting appropriately should the safety of a pledge be an issue.

Macabre Sunset

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 9:06 a.m.

That's wonderful. What percentage of the Supreme Court membership are people who kick men in the groin and force them to ingest vomit?


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 7:01 a.m.

Nationally, 71% of all Greeks graduate, while only 50% of non-Greeks graduate. The All Greek GPA is higher than the overall collegiate GPA Since 1910, 85% of the Supreme Court Justices have been Greek. 85% of the Fortune 500 key executives are Greek. Of the nation's 50 largest corporations, 43 are headed by Greeks. 76% of Who's Who in America are Greek. All but two Presidents since 1825 have been Greek. 70% of the U.S. Presidents' cabinet members since 1900 have been Greek. 76% of U.S. Senators are Greek. Both women elected to the U.S. Supreme Court were sorority members. Over 85% of the student leaders on 730 campuses are members of Greek-letter organizations.


Sun, Feb 13, 2011 : 9:44 p.m.

Obama was not a Greek.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 4:45 a.m.

I would like to ask all of those defending the Greek system why hazing is so prevalent in it? This was a problem 30 years ago when I was in college and continues to be even though students have died and laws have been passed against it. If Greek life is so great, why should it be considered necessary to subject pledges to any painful or demeaning acts in order for them to prove that they belong? If the participants in the Greek system really believe their own claims of positive impact through charitable deeds, they would clean up their own system once and for all and eliminate all hazing activities. That fact that they don't reveals the real truth about the system.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 3:37 a.m.

This type of conduct is dangerous. It should be prosecuted criminally as a form of torture. There needs to be a crackdown before someone on campus is seriously hurt

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 3:28 a.m.

SW40 wrote: "Breaking people down to build them up is the model that our military, police and fire academies have used for decades without anyone complaining." Yes, this is a correct statement, but: 1) The military does not permit physical hazing. It was outlawed at West Point more than a century ago (largely due to Douglas MacArthur's experiences as a cadet). The services basic training/boot camps were slower to adopt such a policy, but it has been decades since people were systematically hazed (another word--tortured) in basic. It happens still on an individual basis and, if caught, the offending individuals are dealt with via non-judicial punishment (i.e., Article 15) or court martial. Hazing is physical assault and torture, nothing less. 2) To the degree that the military, police, and fire training put their new personnel through physically and mentally rigorous boot camp, those activities are closely supervised by an ADULT chain of command and they adhere to detailed training plans approved by the chain-of-command. This IS NOT what happened here. Anyone comparing fraternity/sorority hazing to the military does so out of EXTREME ignorance of the latter. Good Night and Good Luck


Sun, Feb 13, 2011 : 6:23 a.m.

You are assuming that there was de-humanizing activity or physical abuse, I read wall sits, yelling, pushups, running up soapy steps. If you are telling me you didn't exercise or you weren't yelled at in the military then I'm shocked. People are taking the word hazing as gospel, these kids weren't tortured or hazed. A mommy who is far to involved in her kids life doesn't like her baby having to earn anything. Thats what this story is about. People associate fraternities with the worst, not everyone submites to paddlings and disgusting acts, and something tells me neither did this young man. These are accuasations. Why are we convicting these kids without a trial.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 8:49 p.m.

I have not experienced hazing as it is ILLEGAL in the armed forces. If someone at one of the military academies or at boot camp/basic training were to do to their charges what happened in this initiation, they would receive either judicial or non-judicial punishment. If you have tolerated this kind of treatment without reporting it to the proper authorities, shame on you. And whether or not I've experienced physical abuse and torture as a part of a bizarre initiation into an organization that dehumanizes it members is beside the point. One wonders why anyone would subject themselves to such degrading behavior in the first place. Good Night and Good Luck


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 8:26 p.m.

Edward I experienced both types, so unless you did I would hesitate to throw the word ignorance around.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 1:02 p.m.

PA500: Wrong. I went there and was on the faculty for 6 years. Plebe year is miserable compared to freshman year at the U. Physical assault and torture are not permitted. Good Night and Good Luck


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 7:35 a.m.

clearly you didn't go to west point. I know people there whose entire freshman year were misery.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 11:33 p.m.

Hazing whether done in the military or at a fraternity is just like torture -- people think it works somehow but with no evidence that it really does. The fact of the matter is that it doesn't work -- but goes on because the ruling elite went through it and feels it is now justified in doing the same sort of cruelty and stupidity. Cults do it and what does it lead to? People who stop thinking and then you have atrocities against civilians. How many incidents were there by the Marines and US Army in Iraq (the ones we heard about...)? Is teaching people to act cruelly to others -- is that the point here? Something desirable? Please.

Rod Johnson

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 2:45 a.m.

If only this comment could get the upvotes it deserves.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 11:26 p.m.

Most of this stuff is really tame. Yelling at pledges? Memorizing pledge manuals? Standing in a cold room? Flour, eggs and tennis balls hurled at you? Air guns? Perish the thought!! The only things I would be concerned with here are the race up the slippery steps - which is admittedly dangerous - and kicking pledges to ensure they were wearing cups. But I'm very skeptical about the claim pledges had to drink water vomited by others, though - I would wager that was faked, as part of a mind game. These are young kids pledging a fraternity, fer chrissakes!!! Doing dumb stuff is part of it!!! If you've never been through it yourself or experienced the enduring bonds that are forged through facing mutual adversity, you'll never get it.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 10:39 p.m.

i am an sae from the zeal chapter this year (loyola chicago) and let me start by saying that i do not condone hazing and as a pledge i was not hazed, with that said i hope people can also see all the good that out chapters do nation wide, and give this chapter a second chance


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 10:41 p.m.


Mini Fe

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 9:27 p.m.

If these are to be among the brightest and the best that the U sends out into the world, I am confused as to why hazing - condoned or not condoned - would include such ridiculous things as kicking young men in the groin, drinking vomit , and trashing beautiful homes? How creative. Shouldnt pledges be tested instead on their character, their intelligence and their social resolve, among other desirable traits? Are individuals who excel at swallowing goldfish while covered in eggs and dish soap, or are able to wear an athletic cup in perpetuity embodying the qualities that fraternities seek in their representatives? Those who target vulnerability are not the future leaders I'm behind.

Are you serious?

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 9:08 p.m.

I wonder if those that don't have the "highest GPA of any pledge class" do more or less stupid things like described in this article? One would hope that the best and brightest would show a little more common sense.

rusty shackelford

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 9:21 p.m.

"Having the highest GPA" in this context means "having the most effective cheating methods."

rusty shackelford

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 8:55 p.m.

Seems the pro-fraternity contingent wants to have it both ways. You keep saying "he should have expected this, blah blah blah," while at the same time saying you don't condone hazing. The IFC bans hazing, so officially it should not have been expected. If it was to be expected means that you people do in fact condone it, just not when others are watching.

rusty shackelford

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 9:20 p.m.

OK, so they should have expected hazing perhaps, but not to this degree. So he should not have expected "this" kind of hazing.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 9:15 p.m.

How is that wanting "to have it both ways?" I'm not a member of SAE, and I imagine many of the pro-fraternity contingent commenting on this article are not either. Hazing to this degree certainly does not happen at my fraternity, so I can obviously say that I don't approve of their practices. However, on that same level, I will still say that the pledges knew what they were getting into when they signed with the fraternity. Hazing has obviously been banned by the IFC. It still does happen, though. All fraternities allow it to happen in some capacity. But that doesn't mean a particular fraternity will approve of the degree to which another fraternity hazes its pledges and JI's.

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 8:49 p.m.

It seems to me that the hazing part is more cleaning up the mess left by Hell Week than the actual event itself. I do have sympathy for the pledges, though. They are away from home for the first time. They are in a strange place and very anxious to belong to what is perceived as a family. They will often endure more than they should out of a mistaken sense of family. The fraternities have a responsibility to the parents of these pledges. The events described show a lack of concern for that responsibility. They went past hazing and went into the territory of sadism. I would suggest years of therapy for those leading Hell Week activities at SAE.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 8:38 p.m.

Here is another link to hazing at schools across the country that was published in the NY Times listing some incidents prior to 1993: <a href="" rel='nofollow'>;pagewanted=1</a>


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 8:27 p.m.

There is a major, major problem with fraternity hazing on today's campuses - these kids don't do squat. I say beat their butts, just like we did back in the old days - it'd do 'em a world of good.

Chris Blackstone

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 8:20 p.m.

Comparing what happened at SAE with what happens in the military issn't even a legitimate comparison. The activities to initiate military personnel are very closely related to what they will experience in combat and during their service. SEAL Hell Week takes place in and near water because SEAL work takes place in and near water. I highly doubt that members of SAE will frequently need to dodge thrown eggs or avoid shots to the groin during their attendance in class or while walking around campus. I have no beef with the Greek system at all, but any incidents have no place in society, period.

Ron Granger

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 7:54 p.m.

@John Q: &quot;This story is about how so-called leaders in a certain fraternity think they are above the rules and the law that they are bound to follow. Another generation of Wall Street crooks in the making? Or maybe they were aspiring for Abu Grahib greatness? Whatever the case may be, they were caught. Now having been caught breaking the rules, they or their apologists are rushing to their defense claiming it isn't what really happened or even worse, that it's the fault of the victims.&quot; -- Really? Why do you suppose the military still hazes recruits? Why do you suppose the Navy Seals, Special Forces, etc, haze so much more intensely than the regular branches of the military? I mean, couldn't they just give a written test? Have you tested yourself? I'm not talking about taking the SATs. I mean more mentally, physically, and emotionally. I think many people, maybe even most, are afraid to test their limits. If you can't even test, or contemplate your limits, especially because of fear, how are you going to push past them? How will you lead? As I've said before, I've never been frat member. But everywhere in my career, there has been hazing of one sort or another. Especially among those who are leaders and high performers. It usually isn't physical. Some people escape corporate hazing. For example, most people won't question the determination or bona fides of a former Navy Seal. The hazing described in this article pales in comparison to what I've experienced in the corporate world. The fact is, there are people who quit at the first sign of adversity, or struggle. And there are those who persevere. Read Shackleton. Most people will never accomplish anything of major consequence in their life. Their degree from the University of Michigan, along with their family, will be the highlights. I'll be the first to admit that I didn't understand a lot of these things when I was in my 20's.

Edward Vielmetti

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 7:50 p.m.

By way of historical perspective, here is a Michigan Daily story from 2001 <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> detailing problems in the late 1990s with hazing and other activities at four fraternities that contributed to the death of a student at Mary Markley, and pledges shot in the groin by a BB gun, burned with a bleach solution, and duct taped to chairs in separate incidents.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 7:47 p.m.

&quot;I see lots of commenters here, mostly new, making basically the same point and getting a suspiciously high number of approval votes. I hope the admins are aware their system is being gamed by people with a specific agenda and not much interest in &quot;community discussion.&quot;&quot; Nothing new here, Rusty. We've seen it with the firefighters, teachers, rowers, anti-rowers, dam inners, dam outers, Germantown residents and a host of other groups on various topics. An open forum is open to all. It's not like a betting line seeking equal action on both sides. And as a regular reader of comments you and I both know &quot;community discussion&quot; is a rarity here. &quot;No one ever accused fraternity members of not being mindless sheep. They'll pretty much do as they're told, en masse.&quot; um, just who is the &quot;They&quot; telling all the Greek members what to do here? Nice conspiracy theory. No different than you parroting the &quot;mindless sheep&quot; line.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 7:40 p.m.

If a kid in the pledge class could not handle the somewhat light hazing as compared to other campus and southern fraternities then they were free to leave. This pledge class had the highest GPA of any fraternity. This fraternity also raises over $40,000 for Mott Children's Hospital. The hold by far the biggest philanthropy event on campus... It would be a shame for the removal of such a big philanthropist in Ann Arbor.


Tue, Feb 22, 2011 : 8:50 p.m.

I think Bill makes a valid point. Drinking vomit crosses a line. I don't really have problems with the cup thing, our Little League baseball coaches did that to us. And climbing up stairs covered in food? Sounds like a fraternity version of a game show. Ultimately, there's nothing inherently cruel about those things.


Sun, Feb 13, 2011 : 9:45 p.m.

Well, as long as they don't force sick kids to eat their own vomit, I'm good.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 7:48 p.m.

Not much, just the fact that hazing is something that does occur. Somewhat of a tangent, I realize. But considering the prevalence of hazing (before going any further, I'd like to note I am not a fan of the practice), Greek life should not be punished as harshly as many commentators on this article believe.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 7:45 p.m.

&quot;I have friends at UT and other campuses who have endured much worse than what's mentioned in this article&quot; And how does this make any of it right or even legal?


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 7:42 p.m.

Well said. I have friends at UT and other campuses who have endured much worse than what's mentioned in this article.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 7:23 p.m.

As a recent graduate of the University of Michigan and a former member of the school's Sorority System I am continuously saddened to see that the Greek System frequently only appears in the press following negative events.  While I in no way condone hazing, it's unfortunate that stories containing this buzz word seem to take precedent over the many noteworthy contributions of U of M's Greek System, as well as the talented and successful men and women the system produces.  As Michigan is so academically rigorous and focused, the Greek System does a wonderful job of developing the whole student and instilling charitable behavior that typically lasts a lifetime.  I believe this is why many of the University's most notable alumni have been Greek, and even more specifically SAE's.  While issues containing student's personal safety must never be taken lightly, I find it unfortunate that for many people this article is the only thing they will ever read about SAE- a house which has produced so many wonderful men and made so many wonderful contributions to the UofM/Ann Arbor community.

rusty shackelford

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 7:21 p.m.

I see lots of commenters here, mostly new, making basically the same point and getting a suspiciously high number of approval votes. I hope the admins are aware their system is being gamed by people with a specific agenda and not much interest in &quot;community discussion.&quot; No one ever accused fraternity members of not being mindless sheep. They'll pretty much do as they're told, en masse.

Rod Johnson

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 12:05 a.m.

Ooo, the &quot;toughest frat on campus.&quot; Keepin' it real, zeeba.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 11:01 p.m.

Actually, the fact that my fraternity brothers and I steadfastly refused to do as we were told is a big reason we were constantly in trouble with the administration back in the 70s. The guys I was with were some of the most strong-willed, creative and independent people I ever knew - we pledged the toughest frat on campus in part because we wanted to challenge ourselves but also because we admired the way they played by their own rules. We also produced more than our share of highly successful alumni. Today, many of them remain good friends who I've stayed in touch with over the years - can you say the same of your college acquaintances, assuming you've been out more than five years?


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 7:15 p.m.

SAE screwed up. I believe we can all agree on that fact. However, as someone previously stated, we should not throw the baby out with the bath water. I'm a freshman who was just initiated in a fraternity at Michigan last month. Do I have sympathy for SAE? Of course not, they took their practices too far. In all honestly, they flew way too close to the sun. It's not like the Greek community--maybe even the Michigan student community as a whole--was blind to SAE's pledging practices. The pledges absolutely knew what they were getting into when they accepted bids with the fraternity. SAE doesn't force people to join; on that some note, they don't force people to stay. Sure, there's a certain stigma attached to depledging, but that stigma will go away after a short period of time. It's honestly sad that this story will receive such coverage when the numerous charity events run by various fraternities and sororities are essentially forgotten. I am so glad that I joined the Greek community--as my father, mother, uncles, aunts, etc. did. I've met some great friends through my fraternity and other fraternities and sororities. For those of you criticizing Greek life and its practices, realize that you never went through the process. You have absolutely no room to comment in this situation (I'm looking at you, Cash). The bottom line is, SAE should be punished accordingly by their national office. However, Greek Life as a whole should not be affected by all of this. Hazing happens at nearly every fraternity and many sororities. Remember, though, all of the Presidents, cabinet members, senators, astronauts, etc. that went through a similar (possibly even worse) experience as this most recent pledge class at SAE.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 8:53 p.m.

Well, I certainly hope that exposure will have lasting effect. The self-monitoring you refer to obviously did not happen before (follow the link in Mr. Vielmetti's comment) and is unlikely to start now unless there are salient consequences for such behavior.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 8:37 p.m.

Yes, the exposure definitely has the greatest effect. There is--of course--a tipping point. Fraternities should theoretically self-monitor themselves and realize when they've gone too far. Sure, in this particular case, SAE was doing very little self-monitoring in that it was definitely going too far in its hazing practices.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 8:28 p.m.

JTS, so in your mind it is the exposure of the hazing that will damage Michigan Greek Life, and not the activities themselves? How much of it is acceptable to hush up until someone gets hurt or winds up dead? It happened in other universities, just search SAE and hazing.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 7:55 p.m.

Cash, that's very honorable of you. Believe me, I have the full intention of supporting both the university and my fraternity after graduation. But I honestly don't see how this is negatively affecting the university as a whole. Call me naive if you'd like, but I sincerely doubt hazing practices at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter at the University of Michigan will deter people from applying or even donating money to the university in the future. The only parties that are damaged through this are Michigan Greek Life and SAE's national reputation. Also, I'm completely aware that anything I say will not prevent you from reacting to this in whatever way you choose.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 7:45 p.m.

I don't talk about my personal life here....ever. I will share however that I have paid taxes and given donations to support Michigan institutions for 50 years....and continue to do so. Therefore, I will always comment on what goes on at public institutions, and will continue to communicate in that regard.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 7:36 p.m.

Cash, I've gotten the impression that you were never apart of a fraternity. My apologies if that's incorrect.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 7:30 p.m.

Now you think you know about my life? Bwahaaaaaa.......not hardly.

rusty shackelford

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 7:24 p.m.

I'm amazed how many rich white people just love love love Greek life &quot;for the charity events.&quot; There are only about 200 charitable student groups at the U. Those don't require you to be humiliated before you start raising money for charity. They do, however, force you to interact with the lower classes.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 7:10 p.m.

When I first read this article this morning, I thought that this was an isolated incident of people exhibiting bad behavior and that other groups would be appalled. Since then I have been proven wrong. Trying to justify the behavior, defend it, or blame the parent who reported them, proves to me that this is a widespread problem, not an isolated one. I begin today a letter writing campaign with associates to shine a light on the gang mentality, the justifications and the further glorification of the abuse of human beings at the University of Michigan by these groups. I think some of the posts here might assist in that endeavor.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 7:52 p.m.

Yes, laugh on! I've got to get busy...lots to do.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 7:45 p.m.

I thought it was just as funny as Cash's statement.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 7:44 p.m.

&quot;I've spent a lifetime dealing with people. ;-) I know how people work&quot; Coming from a self-admitted freshman who was just initiated in a fraternity, this is a rather funny statement.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 7:40 p.m.

I see it as an extreme considering Cash is an uninvolved party wishing to start a &quot;letter writing campaign&quot; against fraternity practices at Michigan. Also, I've spent a lifetime dealing with people. ;-) I know how people work.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 7:35 p.m.

JTS, that's some very peculiar understanding of &quot;extremes&quot;. Why is it that the ones outlined in the article escape your &quot;need to criticize&quot;, and someone's response to them doesn't?


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 7:35 p.m.

JTS, Don't worry ...I have spent a lifetime dealing with politics. I know what works.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 7:32 p.m.

Honestly, civility is always my goal when commenting on sites like this. However, when I see people go to extremes, I do feel the need to criticize. Cash, a &quot;letter writing campaign&quot; would be ridiculous. Let people make their own choices.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 7:28 p.m.

We will do our bit, thanks!

John Q

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 7 p.m.

&quot;But really this story amounts to an example of how the newest generation is soft and how helicopter parents are ruining their children. Hey &quot;mom&quot; nice way to teach your child conflict resolution, does he run to you and cry everytime he has a problem, something tells me he does.&quot; This story is about how so-called leaders in a certain fraternity think they are above the rules and the law that they are bound to follow. Another generation of Wall Street crooks in the making? Or maybe they were aspiring for Abu Grahib greatness? Whatever the case may be, they were caught. Now having been caught breaking the rules, they or their apologists are rushing to their defense claiming it isn't what really happened or even worse, that it's the fault of the victims. Here's some advice to the perpetrators of this and their defenders. Wise up and be glad that your actions didn't wind up with someone seriously injured or dead. People are no longer willing to coddle or make excuses for jerks like you.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 6:16 p.m.

now on we have our greek system cult leaders insinuating or stating that anyone who defends a young man who was hazed is possibly any of several demeaning insults aimed at emasculating this boy who gosh, didn't have a gun to his head, so why didn't he just leave? The Greek system commenters on have multiple votes only a few hours after posting. Maybe they have texted their brethren of moral characters and enabling sorority sisters to get them to all vote on their blackberries. Are those blackberries ones that they pay for themselves? The frat supporters moms and dads must not pay their cell phone bills, just the parent of the kid whose parent had the integrity to report an abusive practice who is making her son a mommy's boy? Why don't SW40, Ron Granger, Michiganguy and Greekalum just start calling this boy names on Because their comments would be deleted if they actually crossed the line and called him a sexually derogatory, gender or racially biased name. They don't have a gun to their keyboards preventing them from typing an insult. They have a moderator on a forum who will just delete them, so they keep their words under better control and instead have voted for their own comments. Fair enough. Behind closed doors at SAE, there were no moderators. There were no rules enforced and this young man and others likely were hurt. In the future corporate world as Ron Granger points out the boy won't have his mom, but he will likely be smart enough to know how to handle it on his own. The frat guys will need to call one of their brothers to either tell them what to do or cover up what they did wrong. I guess they are the most very manly, of masculine men, those SAE greek warriors mano a mano, just guys together socializing, loving and fighting and playing some harmless pranks bashing brothers groins , bonding in the cold room dungeon and shooting guns at pledges. Did the abused pledge forget to say thank you? Is that thel problem?


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 5:48 p.m.

If half of this stuff is true I'd rather hang out with the guys from Animal House--even with their low gpa.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 5:46 p.m.

As for the &quot;Hazing&quot; that takes place in our marching bands and sports teams well thats not only condoned but encouraged at many colleges as a way of creating comeraderie and team building, much like the military, police and fire academies etc... I guess we should stop making people accomplish anything in order to be rewarded, oh wait that is what most people commenting hear believe, lets just give everything to anybody and the world will be a perfect place. Well thats communism, and this is America...

Rod Johnson

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : midnight

@liekkio: It weeded out the weak and the independent-minded and revealed the strong, docile fellows the frat system is renowned for.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 6:18 p.m.

Could you please point out what exactly was &quot;accomplished&quot; by drinking barf with goldfish in it, kicking people and shooting airsoft guns at them?


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 6 p.m.

As we asked our 5 year old in kindergarten when they used the &quot;But Bobby did it &quot; defense.... If Bobby jumped in the river, would you do it too?&quot; Because Bobby does something stupid doesn't mean it's good for you to do something stupid, my dear .


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 5:52 p.m.

Communism had it's own form of hazing. It was called a free one way ticket to Siberia.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 5:45 p.m.

By the way if you think fraternities and sororities are the only ones &quot;hazing&quot; on college campuses you are out of your mind. The athletic teams and marching bands at many universities have been disciplines for so called hazing practices. But really this story amounts to an example of how the newest generation is soft and how helicopter parents are ruining their children. Hey &quot;mom&quot; nice way to teach your child conflict resolution, does he run to you and cry everytime he has a problem, something tells me he does. Hazing is a buzz word given too much credence by the media and Universities, the term should be reserved for when someone is abused or injured not when they voluntarily take part in hijinx.

rusty shackelford

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 5:45 p.m.

I love how the only defense greek defenders can come up with is &quot;we also do this charity event once a year.&quot; (And it's always exactly the same thing. Hey, I guess if you're joining one of these things you probably aren't much of an independent thinker) As if that's an excuse for violent, degrading behavior? If the March of Dimes started shooting its employees and making them swallow gold fish, would people be saying, &quot;but they do so much charitable work!&quot; ? I mean, the employees all choose to work there, so it must be OK, right?

Bertha Venation

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 8:39 p.m.

Got that right, Rusty &amp; Cash!


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 5:55 p.m.

Treat people worse than animals...then donate to the Humane Society. That's the mentality.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 5:36 p.m.

Before making judgment about this house it's important to note some of the positives. Their Mudbowl Charity event is the longest lasting philanthropy event of any house. This year alone they donated $35,000 to Mott Children's Hospital through the event. Also, their freshman had the highest average GPA of any fraternity this year... Well above the all-men's average on campus. From the sounds of it, no one was injured during this program. I went to school here in the 80s and I remember the SAEs being a tier-1 group of guys. Hope things haven't changed.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 5:57 p.m.

That makes it worse...if they have any intelligence, then they KNEW better than to treat other human beings disrespectfully. Typical, &quot;I buy my morality&quot; defense.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 5:42 p.m.

This is quite clearly an attempt by a member of SAE to offer some defense. &quot;Tier-1 group of guys&quot;? Sounds just like SAE's....


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 5:24 p.m.

So, is the &quot;mudbowl&quot; canceled now too?


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 5:17 p.m.

It appears that a lot of fraternity members are disagreeing by voting the comments related to defending the practices or that it was the kid's choice.

Rod Johnson

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 11:56 p.m.

It's Friday, the week ends on Thursday now. (Not joking)


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 5:23 p.m.

Yes, must not have class today. :-)


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 5:11 p.m.

This hazing sounds way out of line. When I joined a sorority in the 1970's, there was no hell week and nothing ever happened out of line to the pledges or members. I just wanted to add that shooting airsoft guns at people might sound innocuous fun. My son, however, had his front tooth knocked out last summer by an airsoft gun and it was not even at close-range. My son was in pain since it broke off the tooth nerve and he had to go for emergency treatment immediately to dig out the root. Going back to the dentist three more times for more work, he had to endure a root canal and had to get a crown put on his front tooth. All told, it cost $2300 out of our own pocket--all from just playing with friends. I'd say it was an expensive game. I'm sure that hazing with airsoft guns could put an eye as well. Wouldn't University of Michigan moms and dads be thrilled when/if their kids are hurt/injured/ or whatever by joining a fraternity? I have a son there myself. Better clean up your act fraternities!! Kudos to the University for taking appropriate action.

Krystal Elliott

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 5 p.m.

Anyone who is surprised by this sort of thing has been living in a fairy tale, where Greek Life consists solely of philanthropy and fancy &quot;mixers&quot;. Right...


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 4:58 p.m.

Ok so our wonderful censors are at work. For anyone to think that hazing has been fully eliminated from the Greek system they must have their head in the sand. I do not condone hazing but it still lingers. I was in a social frat in the early 70's and there was a bit of hazing but nothing wacked out. Unfortunately incidents like this get the press whereas there are countless community initiatives that are undertaken every year that get no press. This incident will get more attention than the 100's of projects sponsored by fraternities and sororities that benefit the community. I wonder what this guy was thinking about? I doubt anyone forced him to continue in the process. Why not walk away. Some things should just not be discussed with your mom or dad.

Ron Granger

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 4:56 p.m.

I've never joined a frat. Sure, the hazing described was dumb. But was it really that bad? As I read, I kept expecting to find something really awful described and it just wasn't there. And didn't everyone in that frat go through the same process? Isn't there something to be said for toughing it out? For enduring? Isn't the idea to form bonds that mean more than &quot;we were study partners&quot;, or &quot;we all lived on the same floor of the dorm&quot;? And now, quite seriously, what about the kid? He could have quit or dropped out, but he apparently did not. Instead, his Mom &quot;saved&quot; him. Is she really certain she did the right thing? He will always remember that his Mom stepped in to &quot;save&quot; him, with the result that the frat he wanted to join was shut down. We are the product of our experiences. How will this experience impact him in the years to come? Will it define his college experience? Is this a story he will be able to tell, or one which he will forever hide? What will he do in the rough and tumble corporate world when his Mom is not there to protect him? It's a rough world out there. Professionally and personally, I find there are those I can truly depend on, and the rest. You know, when you've lost the mast to the boat, in 50 knot winds, the engine is out, and you are heading for the rocks? And there are just two of you on the boat, and one of you needs to get into the dinghy, as waves crash, to try and pull the boat away from the rocks? There really is no substitute for those defining shared experiences. Stupid hazing isn't a substitute, but at least it is something. It really is a small world. What happens when he is in a workplace and encounters someone who knows the secret? A friend had an incident with a college roommate at the UM (he was caught going through my friend's private possessions). Years later, I found myself working with that guy. He knew I knew, and it was always very awkward for him in the workplace. I could


Wed, Feb 16, 2011 : 1:01 a.m.

Really? Kid should have dropped out of school? Do you really mean that as a solution? Endurance can be measured by being able to complete a degree in four or five years and then being able to get a reasonable job. Some of my best friends now as an adult are those with whom I studied and learned to ask questions with. This student will have learned from his parent how to address a situation which had clearly gotten out of control. Had he addressed it with the frat directly he would have been socially ostracized and probably retaliated against. College academics, and later on getting a job, is hard enough without adding all that.

Atticus F.

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 4:25 p.m.

I think the choice should be left to the students. As long as the hazing is within reason, and the pledges are notified of the nature of the innitiation. Some people are comparing this incident to bullying. But the truth is, nobody is forcing these students to join. It's a matter of personal chpoice. People who are truly bullied, seldom have a choice in the matter.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 3:19 p.m.

Animal House is a great movie because it does spotlight on Fraternity and Sorority hazing and humiliation. This has been going on since Universities started having Fraternities and Sororities. For some reason it just seems right to these grown up bullies that they have to do unto others. UM is no different and neither is EMU or any other college for that matter. This article does not surprise me in the least that this is still going on today. Parents? If you really think your child should join a Fraternity or Sorority? Think again. Thank heaven there are some parents who do not condone this type of behavior.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 3:11 p.m.

Thank you jamie. I would encourage everyone in this post that was never a social greek to do some research beyond just what you hear from the media about greek life. I'm not blind to the fact that these are serious allegations, and hazing is not a joking matter. Frankly, hazing disgusts me as well. But the only press that greek life gets is when something negative happens. The millions of dollars raised annually are never praised, and the community service is seldom noticed. I personally was never hazed, and know that it is not condoned by any organization. I pride myself on the fellowship I have with my brothers, and they are a group of individuals that have become family to me. Once again, I encourage all of you to not lose faith in the greek system as a whole.


Wed, Feb 16, 2011 : 12:47 a.m.

It is hard not to lose faith in the greek system as a whole when events like this keep happening. Did any of the brothers who were planning this event (note that if you are told to wear protection 24-7 this indicates that abuse is expected) remember that you are also part of a larger whole (the greek system and the U of M?) and that your behavior would be judged accordingly? I for one am ashamed that my tax dollars are supporting this type of behavior. At least some of those students are living there with the help of student loans and scholarships, and we all help fund those though the taxes we pay the government.

Rod Johnson

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 5:06 p.m.

I love the fact that all the ex-greeks who post here would never *dream* of hazing, find it despicable, etc. Yet somehow--inexplicably!--it continues to happen. It doesn't happen in the chess club or the honor society, but in the greek system, which is full of noble, civic-minded, hard-working, anti-hazing individuals who have high GPAs and hold &quot;dance marathons,&quot; somehow, decade after decade, it keeps happening, though no one actually does it. It's like immaculate conception. Or maybe the houses are haunted!


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 4:05 p.m.

My husband was in a fraternity when I first met him in the mid '80s. When I was invited to his fraternity house, I figured I'd see a version of Animal House, but was pleasantly surprised that the guys were nice, polite and not at all like the idiots I've always heard about. My husband told me he rushed more than one fraternity and that each one has a different group of people they attract. He wanted to join one that didn't act like drunken idiots and he found quite a few houses that attracted intelligent, thoughful guys. As one poster said, to ban the whole Greek system is to throw the baby out with the bath water.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 4:01 p.m.

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rusty shackelford

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 3:38 p.m.

Maybe we could do &quot;do some research beyond...the media,&quot; if the people who inevitably come to defend the system don't all read from the exact same, tired script you just posted for us.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 3:09 p.m.

Was the author of the e-mail's son held at gun point when he participated in the hazing? Why didn't he just leave the house if it was so terrible? Breaking people down to build them up is the model that our military, police and fire academies have used for decades without anyone complaining. This student could have left at anytime, if not than the fraternity should be charged with kinapping or unlawful imprisonment otherwise he voluntarily drank some beer, ran up some soap covered steps and got yelled at in the dark. Oh the humanity.

Christopher LeClair

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 8:26 p.m.

Maybe the son didn't have a problem with it. He could easily just have been telling his mom about the horrors of it all. She took it upon herself to alert the University.

rusty shackelford

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 5:46 p.m.

If you read the article, they literally were held at gunpoint, actually. (And fired upon)

Rod Johnson

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 5:01 p.m.

@rusty: ha!

rusty shackelford

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 3:36 p.m.

&quot;Was the author of the e-mail's son held at gun point when he participated in the hazing?&quot; I mean, I wouldn't be surprised.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 2:57 p.m.

Can say whether the parent who complained was in-state or out-of-state. My bet is that it was an out-of-state parent who pays higher tuition and hasn't been mentally hazed into Michiganguy's way of thinking, a former soccer coach, who thinks this is not so bad and parents are just making a fuss to pamper their kids. Many youth and college coaches and sports teams would not put up with this behavior but some would minimize it. News reports in the past couple of weeks about Iowa football players hospitalized for life-threatening injuries from abusive training methods are one example. It is offensive to read that someone is defending physical torture and cruelty by saying this young man made the choice to participate by joining the fraternity. Is it a cult or a social organization? The IFC should expand its rules against hazing to include rules on the duty to report and set firm consequences to peers who do not report abuse.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 2:44 p.m.

Fraternities don't haze, people haze.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 8:07 p.m.

I agree, Cash. And the investigation should be turned over to the prosecutor to determine if any criminal acts occurred.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 3:06 p.m.

Which is exactly why restricting the frat house does nothing. Boot the people who violated the UM &quot;rule&quot; HOME.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 2:43 p.m.

When choosing a college or university during the 90s, I specifically selected one without a Greek system. As other commenters have said, the behavior described in this article is not unusual. As a new parent, I already wonder how I'll handle it someday when my child is looking at schools. The thought of him entering a fraternity literally makes me feel sick to my stomach, and if I have a daughter someday, I'll be even more frightened for her. There is enough suffering in the world without a bunch of privileged kids voluntarily subjecting themselves to harm, both physical and emotional (and in my opinion, anyone who is able to attend the University of Michigan is privileged, at least in their opportunity to attend such a school). While I commend the student who told his parents as well as them for going directly to the University, I have to wonder why anyone would want to join such an organization. People all over the world, including in our own country, must eat sub-par food, drink dirty water, and endure abuse on a daily basis. What is wrong with our nation that students (and their parents) would choose to endorse a 'club' that is supposedly based on friendship and stewardship but is actually, in essence, a bullying cult?


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 2:42 p.m.

I know a lot of you read this article and take it as gospel. I hope at least some readers can read such an article and laugh at the exaggerations that are contained in it. Some parent wrote an email, I used to coach soccer and I can say I got these things all the time, said parent has little interest in the well being of their child. Instead against their childs wishes - they equate that they are taking a personal slight regarding something and decide to make it about themselves. I understand the emotioinal reaction to hazing and I like most others don't condone it. That said I hope some of you can comment without showing complete naivety. Their pledge class also had the highest GPA of any fraternity pledge class this last fall.

Jim Deakins

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 6:29 p.m.

maybe as a coach you weren't watching what was happening closely enough?


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 4:55 p.m.

Cash, Good parents have taught their children (who are now adults) to take care of their own battles. Does your mom write letters to your boss if he doesn't treat you right? What if a football players parent starts writing letters saying they are making the player work too hard. Adults over the age if 18 have this concept called free will. Unless they PHYSICALLY FORCED the pledges to do these actions then there is nothing wrong with it. If they did physically force them to do it, then the STUDENT should be the one filing charges, not mommy and daddy.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 3:21 p.m.

If you read the rest of the article you would see that the accusations were INVESTIGATED and the fraternity was suspended at two levels. To assume the parents had selfish interests is absurd. Good parents step up to do the right thing. There's nothing selfish about stepping up to right a wrong. As a matter of fact, it is a most unselfish act to get out of your comfort zone and speak up. Too bad more of us don't have the guts!


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 2:25 p.m.

I commend the parent and student for speaking out. I agree with @Bill that this is not unusual. What is unusual is that someone is speaking out and that they are not being harassed or discredited for outing these common practices. The greek system at U-M and elsewhere has done this for years. Things are probably better at SAE than other fraternities if this student could speak out. Fear of repercussions social and otherwise stop others from stepping out of line. should ask police about whether criminal charges could be filed or if it would be a civil case of harassment. The should also read back stories in michigan daily about other fraternities who practiced racial harassment as part of hazing. In the 1980s, organizations pulled advertising dollars from the Daily for publishing stories about michigauma and &quot;jungle parties&quot; that were common practice at several fraternities on campus.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 2:07 p.m.

I believe this is assult. Criminal charges and expulsion from the University.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 2 p.m.

I think the goldfish and the cup kicking should be reversed for &quot;most disgusting&quot; act. Two guys drank fish water WITH THE FISH in it yuck, then threw it up, and then a third guy drank THAT back up? My stomach is turning just thinking about the smell let alone anything else regarding that scenario :( Actions like those being described are exactly why I never had any intention of joining a frat when I was in college. Sure you might make some work connections ,and have a sense of brotherhood and blah blah blah, but drinking up another man's regurgitation is not something I would ever have subjected myself to just to fit into some group. If that's the kind of things a guy has to do to belong then I'd rather just not belong

rusty shackelford

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 2 p.m.

Folks, anyone who thinks that somehow this fraternity is an outlier is being extremely naive. They all engage in these practices--if not literally the same evens, then others with the same degree of humiliation, danger, and degradation.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 2 p.m.

@ Silly Sally: could you please point out where the &quot;baby&quot; is? This particular fraternity has a known troubling history. There were recent hazing-related deaths of SAE pledges at California Polytechnic (Carson Starkey), University of Texas ( Tyler Cross) and numerous scandals where hazing at local chapters did not result in deaths ( Central Florida, LSU, Syracuse, to name a few).


Tue, Feb 22, 2011 : 8:19 p.m.

Although I don't necessarily disagree with you, it's unfair to make a conclusion about a National Organization based on the behaviors of a handful of their individual charters.

Jim Deakins

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 1:57 p.m.

Animal House? Why was that movie such a hit?


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 3:26 p.m.

From Media Life magazine survey: Moviegoers tend to skew younger. Among all moviegoers, the largest age group by far is 12- to 24-year-olds.

zip the cat

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 1:55 p.m.

Hazing?, Sounds like they should be charged with torcher,followed by a big time lawsuit for violating there civil rights. Then a life time ban from the U

Jim Deakins

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 1:49 p.m.

HumanKIND ? We consider the parent's email a step of bravery and the identity of the students have to be hidden out of fear. When the upper class students should be the ones fearing shame for being so cruel and base. Glad to hear that the University has stopped this ONE frat from doing this, but I completely agree with the other comments that it needs to stop. I know some will think my next comment is off the subject, but it is related. Violent video games are only creating engrained habits of being cruel abusers in the people who repeated play these &quot;games&quot;. Repetition creates patterns in our brains. All sorts of repetition. Why do we think that somethings are so harmless? Why do we think these things are &quot;fun&quot; and &quot;games&quot;? It is absurd unless we want to train up our children to be ruthless warriors. Is that really what we need? I don't think so. We need more creative negotiators and people who care about other people. I live in Ann Arbor and can't understand why there are sections called the &quot;student ghettos&quot;. Is college all about acting like an drunken pig?


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 2:04 p.m.

Video games have nothing to do with this. If you look up &quot;Top 10 Worst Greek Hazing Scandals &amp; Stories&quot;, half of them predate computer era. Nevertheless, torture and deaths occurred.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 1:44 p.m.

@ Silly Sally, this is just another sad incident in a long line of sad events that have plagued the Greek system on UM's campus. The problem with being a townie is that you don't miss a beat when something major happens. Yes, in some cases, the Greek system has done great things, but for the most part it is a classicist organization hellbent on victimizing people. There are plenty of stories in the archives at City Hall and at the M Daily to make you sick. Don't believe me, go do some digging. The Greek system isn't a baby, it is cancer!


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 2:15 p.m.

What a crock. Keep drinking the Kool Aid. The military is a fraternity with a different name. The major difference between the two is when you want to leave a fraternity due to their behavior you can. When you want to leave the military for their bad behavior (Tail hook, Abu Grahib, the Air Force academy RAPES, Aberdeen, DADT) you are considered a criminal. And I won't even get into much of the rendition and other criminal behavior of the military. Members of the Greek system can leave at any time, while the military actually holds you hostage.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 5:31 p.m.

No, johnnya2, soldiers are in the army because there is a real country with real enemies to keep away from its population, you included. Too bad you do not understand that and keep comparing a vital function of society with frat nonsense.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 4:49 p.m.

@liekkio Why do people become soldiers? Because of some brainwashed patriotism believing your country (substitute fraternity) is better than any other. A soldier is making his sacrifice in the name of his country, and the pledge is making the sacrifice in the name of his frat. The mentality is EXACTLY the same. A soldier is also taught and required NOT to question what they are told to do. Finally, a soldier is actually PAID for what he does, while a frat member PAYS to belong. If you are so weak and feeble to allow this to happen to you, you get what you deserve.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 4:41 p.m.

Ok so there are enough bad eggs to go around....but calling the system a &quot;cancer&quot; is way out of bounds. I was in a social frat in college and there was some hazing but nothing wacked out. We were somewhat animal houseish in the early 70's. We did things in the community such as sponsoring a dance marathon for MD, helping seniors with lawn care and converting our house into a fun house at Halloween for low income kids . Viet Nam was going on and a fair amount of campus unrest. The Greek system at the time was way down. We probably drank, smoked and partied too much but I can say we also helped out in the community.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 4:12 p.m.

a2roots, actually ,I belonged to an honor frat in my undergraduate years. This frat is mostly comprised of wrestler meat heads. I'm not a big fan or dorms, but at least there you have a cross section of students which helps keep them inline. Whereas a frat is comprised of like minded individuals. In this case, sick.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 3:56 p.m.

Plain and simple Bill you have no clue what the Greek system is about. Slamming the whole system because of a few knuckleheads is ridiculous.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 2:12 p.m.

johnnya2, are you serious? How can you equate soldiers' sacrifice and this sick incident?


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 2:06 p.m.

So I suppose if students in the dorms do something stupid we should shut them down? I would say there as many violent and stupid things going on in the dorms as much as there are in the Greek system. I do not agree with hazing, but it is hardly a &quot;greek&quot; problem. Have you seen what football players put themselves through? They practice in sweltering temperatures and allow their bodies to risk permanent and devastating injuries continuously. Have you seen the feet of dance majors at the U? How about members of ROTC? They submit the chance to lose their lives for their country. I have not, nor would I ever join a system like the Greek system, but people have done this kind off thing for many years. Soldiers sacrifice for their country (generally college age kids) and pledges sacrifice for their fraternity. Football players sacrifice for their university.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 1:42 p.m.

We are trying to teach our children not to be a bully, nor to accept bullying behavior in grades k-12. These hazing behaviors are beyond bullying. If someone did these things to a stranger on the street, they would be arrested. Thanks go to the parents for reporting this...but even more so, to the son that had the courage to tell his parents in the first place.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 1:23 p.m.

Hazing is an anachronistic hold over from a cruel era. Students no longer need the Greek system to set themselves apart as special, nor does membership guarantee success in business or life as it once did. If the University were truly forward thinking, it would ban the Greek system from campus and set a new precedence for other colleges and universities that hazing and cruelty towards others will no longer be tolerated on any campus!!! Well, the ball is in your court, Sue.

John B.

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 10:24 p.m.

I agree completely!

Rod Johnson

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 4:58 p.m.

Completely agree. Silly Sally, there is no baby, just a lot of fairly gross bathwater. Frats are like incubators for bad behavior, and a relic of an older time when men got a free pass for acting like louts. End them.

rusty shackelford

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 1:58 p.m.

Some cities--Chicago is a notable example--actually have ordinances forbidding fraternity houses.

Silly Sally

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 1:37 p.m.

Bill wants to throw the baby out with the bath water -How silly. Instead, weed out those who break the rules.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 12:52 p.m.

Cash for President of the U Good Night and Good Luck

Bertha Venation

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 8:30 p.m.

Y'all got MY vote!

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 2:03 p.m.

Deal! Good Night and Good Luck


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 1:29 p.m.

Only if ERMG is our next governor.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 12:41 p.m.

Anyone who inflicts this or accepts this should be taken in for a psych eval. This is sick.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 7:59 p.m.

Additionally, some of the alledged acts are potentially criminal and the investigation should be turned over to the Washtenaw County Prosecutor.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 11:44 a.m.

First, why would anyone in their right mind want any connection with people who would find pleasure in humiliating or harming anyone for any purpose? Wow, I would be worried if my child or grandchild would even want to speak to people like that. Second, are these people still students at U of M? They broke the UM rules right? Goodness, where's the trespass cops? The &quot;Leaders and the best&quot;? If these are our best, Michigan is in trouble. Send these guys to school in Columbus.

Bertha Venation

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 1:39 p.m.

Cash, you are sooo right. Very good points, indeed.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 12:24 p.m.

jon, Yup, they'd fit right in.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 12:15 p.m.

I like your thoughts more everyday. Columbus that is what they act like &quot;animals&quot;.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 11:40 a.m.

Wow, one wonders why a pledge would want to be a part of such an organization. I guess after all that they want revenge? Nice looking fraternity house wonder what the stairs look like.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 11:32 a.m.

Kudos to the parent who went the e-mail, and kudos to the University for taking such prompt action. And also my hat is off to the student who let his parents know what was going on. Hazing is NOT all in &quot;good fun&quot; and is nothing more than bullying. I'm glad the University has such a hard stance against such behavior.