Eastern Michigan University announced the abrupt decision of Alpha Sigma Phi to terminate their association with the university Oct. 11.
“It is clear from the fraternity’s action and decisions that the leadership of ASP and its members no longer elect to abide by University standards and guidelines for student groups,” President James Smith said in a written statement.
Their decision to disassociate from the university comes as the fraternity faces sexual assault allegations and undergoes a school review, while EMU also faces three Title IX lawsuits by 24 individuals who claim the university failed to properly respond to their sexual assault cases. The lawsuits also included ASP and Delta Tau Delta.
“The organization review appeared to be haphazardly created to make Alpha Sigma Phi the scapegoat for their apparent own negligence in adjudicating sexual misconduct,” Miller said in a recent email. “The process was unclear, not defined in the Code of Student Conduct, and multiple emails sent to University officials did not receive a response."
The process itself consists of a request to review records such as organization constitution and bylaws, a roster of members, and social event registration forms, Melissa Thrasher, EMU’s director of media relations, said in a recent email.
“There is a chilling pattern for university officials not responding to emails, violating published policies, and concealing information from the students,” Miller said.
Miller highlights that the university delayed their requests for an Open Records Request. He notes that ASP only received a response after five days -- the maximum allowed -- and received a follow-up after 10 days -- the maximum allowed.
Thrasher denies these allegations against the university.
“This is clearly an example of a group that is determined to operate independently without the appropriate oversight of the university into its practices,” Thrasher said.
“We have simply asked them to follow the practices and protocols that are required of every other fraternity and sorority, and student organization, on our campus,“ Thrasher said. "We are well within our rights to review the actions of associated student groups, especially in order to maintain the safety of our campus community.”
Thrasher pointed out that this is not the only instance of the fraternity choosing to dissociate.
“Alpha Sigma Phi similarly dissociated its University of Michigan chapter in 2019,” Thrasher said.
Despite the fraternity’s decision to dissociate from the university, Miller assures that ASP will continue to work with legal authorities in the Title IX case they are listed in.
“This decision will not impact any current legal action,” Miller said. “We will continue to work with legal authorities and fully cooperate with all requests by legal authorities as the chapter would like to see justice for the survivors.”
For EMU students, the fraternity’s decision to dissociate from the university brought frustration and disappointment. EMU sophomore Stephanie Mahler was one of many students who were frustrated with this news.
“It only further confirmed how guilty they are,” Mahler said. “The sexual assaults at EMU have been happening for so long that I believe ASP felt they could get away with it and be in the clear, but now more students are stepping up and speaking out, and they’re terrified of us having voices... ASP knows what they’ve done and knows that they’ve messed up. Making bare minimum excuses will not protect them from what’s to come with these cases."