Students charged after causing over $430,000 in damage to resort

Local prosecutor promises to pursue charges against more students

Three members of the University of Michigan (U of M) chapter of Sigma Alpha Mu (Sammy) fraternity will face charges for $430,000 in damages incurred at a northern Michigan ski resort in January, the local county prosecutor announced Friday.

Prosecutor Michael Rola says he will file charges against the president, treasurer, and another member of the now permanently dissolved chapter—although their names have not been released. The Sammy officers will face misdemeanor counts for allowing underage drinking, while the third member will face a felony charge of malicious destruction of property.

Rola says if any other participating students are identified, he will charge them as well.

Background

About 120 members of U of M's Sammy and Sigma Delta Tau (SDT) sorority visited the Inn at Treetops Resort from Jan. 17 to 18. In that time, they damaged 45 rooms and caused an estimated $430,000 in damages.

U of M President Mark Schlissel banned Sammy from campus for at least four years in February, but this month the fraternity's national office dissolved it entirely. SDT was placed on disciplinary suspension by the school for two years.

Ongoing investigation

Rola says Michigan State Police are still trying to determine who participated in the resort trashing—and in what capacity—but promised charges against "several" more students as more information becomes available.

"There were a lot of students there and it's hard to know exactly who was doing what. As we confirm identities and actions, we will pursue more charges," he says.

U of M officials say they have been waiting until legal charges come through before beginning the school's own disciplinary hearings.

"We will review the specifics as soon as we can get the investigative report," says spokesperson Rick Fitzgerald. "We have said all along that we wanted individual accountability" (Jesse, USA Today College, 3/21; AP/Insurance Journal, 3/23).

The takeaway: Three members of a fraternity who trashed a Michigan ski resort in January will face criminal charges, and several more students may as well in the near future, according to the local prosecutor.


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