UEM fraternity under study separates from school

One of Eastern Michigan University’s two fraternities under review amid lawsuits stemming from sexual assault allegations is no longer associated with the school, officials said Monday.

“Rather than participating in the University’s review of its policies and practices and adhering to the protocols required for EMU membership, the local chapter of Alpha Sigma Phi (ASP) informed the UEM last week of his decision to disassociate himself from the University, “said James, president of EMU. Smith said in an online statement. “Therefore, the fraternity is no longer a recognized UEM student organization.”

However, officials from the fellowship’s national group have said they are ready to participate, but the university has not addressed members’ concerns about the process.

“Unfortunately, these questions were never answered, which leads us to believe that the University was inventing this process on the fly and that the section was not going to participate in a kangaroo court where the basic protections of the procedure regular weren’t provided, ”Gordy Heminger, Alpha Sigma Phi president and CEO, said in an email.

“It appears that this organizational review process was a ploy by the university to distract from the apparent failure of the Title IX office to support survivors of sexual assault in eastern Michigan.”

Last month, faced with pressure from students to ban two Greek life organizations over allegations of sexual assault on and near campus, the university began examining Alpha Sigma Phi and Delta Tau Delta for assess their future status on the Ypsilanti campus.

The two fraternities and the UEM have been sued by 24 Jane and John Does, alleging they were sexually assaulted in incidents dating back to 2016. The lawsuits say 19 of the reported incidents have links to the two fraternities.

Delta Tau Delta is also under review but participating, Smith said.

“Delta Tau Delta has complied and participated in the review process to date,” Smith said in its statement Monday. “We are moving forward vigorously and hope to have additional information to share on the status of the review in the coming weeks.”

The length of a review was unclear.

“While we remain deeply concerned about their activities, the ASP’s decision to disassociate eliminates the ability of the University to oversee and directly intervene in its operations, as the ASP is no longer affiliated with the University. “said Smith.

With their separation, the Alpha Sigma Psi Chapter can no longer use the school’s name, logo, gain student support for its recruiting events, or borrow offices, meeting rooms, auditoriums, and more. university spaces, Smith said.

The section is also no longer eligible for university funding and cannot participate in student organization fairs, workshops, training sessions, or on-campus fundraisers.

Smith added that fellowship members “no longer choose to abide by the University’s standards and guidelines for student groups. Those concerned about ASP operations should contact Alpha Sigma’s national headquarters. Phi to voice these concerns or, if they observe illegal activity, contact 911. “

Heminger rejected the characterization.

“The chapter must always follow the law and our policies and guidelines, which are frankly much stricter than the policies in Eastern Michigan,” he told the Detroit News. “In fact, I would challenge the president of Eastern Michigan to have the university adopt our health and safety guidelines for the entire study body, including every student organization.”

Heminger shared an email that Danny Miller, the group’s senior director of prevention and liability, sent to EMU on October 3, explaining the decision to disassociate.

“We regret that we have to make this decision,” Miller said. “However, the past 10 months have shown that the University has not supported our Chapter and has no intention of doing so.”

Among his claims, Miller said the UEM launched the review to target the fraternity, forced members to contact Ypsilanti and not the campus police when faced with vandalism or harassment, and this year issued a provisional suspension longer than that permitted by the school’s code of conduct.

His email added that the staff members “aim to scapegoat fraternities for their own negligence in judging students and to sanction students (via the chapter) who were not even in college when the events occurred “cited in the dispute.

Miller said the chapter “will continue to operate, recruit new members, train new members, participate in service and philanthropy events (including our national partner, RAINN) and organize fellowship gatherings, although without the benefits of academic recognition “.

A representative from the school could not be immediately reached for comment on Monday evening.

Several assaults detailed in the lawsuits are linked to three former UEM students. One was

Dustyn Durbin, a former Alpha Sigma Phi member accused in lawsuits of assaulting nine women and faces 13 sexual assault charges in Washtenaw County.

In his email to EMU last week, Miller said: “We immediately kicked the former member out after learning of the incident. To date, Alpha Sigma Phi has done more than Eastern Michigan University to protect survivors and create a safer community. “

Heminger said Monday: “To be very clear – Alpha Sigma Phi and the Chapter support survivors and believe that anyone found responsible for committing a sexual assault should be suspended from eastern Michigan and go to jail. moreover, the chapter should always follow all of our health and safety guidelines, Michigan law, and students will still be expected to follow the student code of conduct. ”

Meanwhile, Smith’s update this week shared more details on initiatives announced last month to tackle sexual assault on campus.

He said all students are required to complete mandatory online training before registering for winter semester courses. The training covers topics such as student rights and protections under Title IX.

“This training is an important part of the University’s larger initiative to prevent sexual assault and violence in relationships, and will therefore be required annually for all students,” he said.

According to its update, a survivor handbook and Title IX resource guide for faculty and staff are also being finalized.

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