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National headquarters officially shuts down ZBT fraternity

By Tui Rademaker, Daily Staff Reporter
Published November 28, 2012

Years after being removed from the University’s Interfraternity Council, the national headquarters of Zeta Beta Tau fraternity officially shut down the organization’s Eta chapter on Tuesday.

ZBT officials from the University’s chapter were not available to be reached for comment.

The national body alleged that the University’s chapter house had become an “unsafe environment,” prompting its decision to officially close the chapter, according to a current ZBT member at the University who wished to remain anonymous because fraternity members were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

The ZBT member said there have long been hazing allegations against the chapter, but they have not proven true. He added that he feels the national organization is using the claim of a dangerous living atmosphere as a means of revoking the chapter because they cannot act on previous unproven hazing allegations.

ZBT has not been a member of the University’s Interfraternity Council since 2006, when the chapter was expelled for violating restrictions on recruiting new members. IFC placed the chapter on probation the previous year for allegations of hazing that involved forcing pledging to engage in excessive exercise, eating and drinking.

The ZBT member said while there is a feeling of disappointment within the fraternity, they also feel frustrated that their nationals did not seek alternative solutions before officially disbanding the chapter. He added the 92 members of the fraternity will possibly appeal to their national council regarding the official closing of the chapter.

ZBT’s national organization did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

When the ZBT chapter was removed from IFC in 2006, then-IFC spokesman Brian Millman and then-IFC president Jon Krasnov said in a joint written statement that the chapter defied the IFC standards and principles.

“ZBT’s continued indifference toward the values embraced by the Greek community has demonstrated its inability to function as a contributing member of the Interfraternity Council at the University of Michigan,” the statement said.

Neither Ryan Gross, the media relations spokesperson for IFC, nor the Office of Greek Life were able to comment on the closure due to the fact that ZBT is not currently an official member of the University’s Greek system.

Additionally, ZBT’s national body has stationed a security guard outside the chapter’s Oxford Road house. According to an internal e-mail sent to members of a University Panhellenic Association sorority obtained by the Daily— which contained a report of Tuesday’s meeting of the Panhellenic Executive Board — the precaution was taken to ensure that no damage is done to the property and no parties are held.

The ZBT member said the chapter is examining their legal rights to privacy in regards to the permanently stationed officer.

If the national body, which owns the ZBT chapter house, decides to sell the home on Oxford, University Housing spokesman Peter Logan said University Housing would most likely be unable to accommodate the many ZBT members who will be without a place to live.

University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said University organizations are unable to comment on the closure of the chapter because the fraternity’s national headquarters made the decision, without any influence by administering bodies of the University.

“There’s really no action from the University — the action is from the fraternity’s national organization,” Fitzgerald said.

Other fraternity chapters on campus have also been booted from the IFC. In March 2011, Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity was expelled from University Greek Life after allegations of hazing surfaced. However, SAE’s national organization only suspended the chapter and it still has a house near campus.


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