I have to wonder what kind of children we are bringing up hen an entire fraternity from the University of Michigan could destroy a place of business, clearly showing no respect for private property. I still remember our ski weekends from my college days. They were amazing and yes, we all went a little crazy, but to purposely destroy a place of business is beyond the pale.
According to the Detroit Free Press, the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity and its sister sorority Sigma Delta Tau spent a weekend (yes just 72 hours) at the Treetops Resort. “The initial damage repair bill was estimated at about $100,000, as quoted by Owens after the Jan.17-18 weekend rampage. About 120 U-M students, members of Sigma Alpha Mu and women from its sister sorority Sigma Delta Tau, had gathered at the ski resort. There was damage to 45 rooms, and students destroyed ceiling tiles and exit signs, broke furniture and doors and urinated on carpeting, pictures showed.”
More than a month later, University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel imposed the harshest sanction possible against the fraternity barring them from campus for at least four years and asking the fraternity’s national headquarters to revoke their charter. In terms of actual monetary loss, the resort says it is upwards of $400,000, which does not include the lost wages of employees unable to work because of the repairs. The sorority was placed on a disciplinary suspension because the women apparently, “‘stood by at Treetops Resort and allowed others to vandalize the facility,’ according to the U-M sanctions.”
Where is the equality? The women participated along with the men and instead of stepping up and calling the police they stood by and did nothing. They must be judged as harshly. How can we expect women to learn to be strong and empowered if we continue to consider them the “weaker sex.” The assumption that they simply “stood by” is absurd. They should be barred along with the fraternity and their charter should be revoked.
That said, just because this damage happened in the context of a “fraternity and sorority” event should not shield them from severe consequences. Not only should the frat and sorority be held liable, those who participated should be charged. Imagine if this was a wild group of boys or girls with no ties to a university, they would certainly be jailed. According to the article, “The Michigan State Police are conducting an investigation. No students have been charged.”
If you think this an isolated incident, think again, “In addition to the destruction at Treetops in Gaylord, officials at Boyne Highlands near Harbor Springs said other U-M fraternity and sorority members caused about $30,000 in damage to condo units during a Jan. 17-18 weekend gathering. In that matter, U-M imposed less severe sanctions against Pi Kappa Alpha and Chi Psi fraternities and Alpha Phi and Delta Gamma sororities.”
As far as I know, laws don’t distinguish between groups. It’s time for us to stop treating young men and women, adults, like this with kid gloves just because they are in college. These are adults. Charge them for the destruction. Barring a frat is a slap on the wrist and not indicative of real world justice. How can we be part of the solution if we stand by and say nothing when justice is parsed out unfairly?