Gaylord Residents Want U-M’s Fraternity And Sorority Members Charged With Felonies After Ski Weekend

Gaylord residents and the Otsego County Board of Commissioners want members of a University of Michigan fraternity and sister sorority prosecuted in criminal court following their destructive antics at a party at the Treetops Resort during a party-filled ski weekend.

Plenty are making excuses for the destruction caused by members of the University of Michigan’s Sigma Alpha Mu and Sigma Delta Tau at a ski weekend fraternity party. The fraternity and sorority members “bashed in ceiling tiles, smashed exit signs, kicked doors off their jambs and urinated on carpeting, leaving a stench so bad that commercial air scrubbers had to be brought in,” according to a report by the Detroit Free Press which also interviewed the chairman of the department of psychiatry at Wayne State University. Dr. David Rosenberg says that the wild ski weekend’s damages were the result of under-developed prefrontal cortexes in the fraternity and sorority members.

“There can be good kids otherwise who get caught up in the group process that they’d never ever do in a million years without that group mentality.”

Ryan Vanslyck, a 19-year-old college student, also doesn’t feel the fraternity members should be prosecuted. He told the Detroit Free Press that the students should have to pay financially and maybe get a slap on the wrist, but argues that the media is blowing the fraternity ski weekend in Gaylord out of proportion. Vanslyck told the Free Press that partying is very important to college life and sometimes “stuff like this happens,” and the fraternity and sorority members are paying the price of “overplayed” reporting on the Gaylord incident.

After the ski weekend at the Gaylord resort, a 20-yard dumpster was filled to the brim with destroyed furniture, leftover food, and trash, but it wasn’t large enough to contain all of the garbage the fraternity party’s 120 students left behind in Gaylord. The resort’s spokesperson said that three weeks later, Gaylord residents are still cleaning up the mess left from the fraternity’s wild party and that 53 rooms were damaged during the ski weekend which took place on January 17 and 18.

Despite excuses being made for the fraternity and sorority members, Gaylord residents are livid and have demanded criminal prosecution, not just financial compensation.

“I think it would be a real life lesson for them to graduate with a felony and see how hard it is to get a job,” said Gaylord resident Becky Nelson. Michigan State Police are investigating the events during the ski weekend in Gaylord, but the Otsego County Board of Commissioners voted 9-0 to prosecute the fraternity and sorority members from the University of Michigan to the fullest extent of the law.

According to the meeting minutes, the motion to encourage the prosecutor to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law was raised by by Commissioner Paul Beachnau and was supported unanimously.

Meanwhile, staff at the Gaylord resort had to hire Servpro, a restoration company which normally assists in flood and fire damage, to deal with replacing ceiling tiles, cleaning about 2,000 pounds of soiled laundry, and removing items and areas soiled with bodily fluids from the fraternity party. The company had 20 people working for a week and a half in what the company’s operation manager, Jamie Hicks say, said was the worst case if vandalism he has seen in his 16 years in the restoration industry. He said that holes were kicked into the drywall, picture frames had been smashed leaving glass all over the floor, and kitchen cabinets with doors ripped off. Hicks said that someone had use a bat to destroy the ceiling tiles. During the ski weekend in Gaylord, people even tore wall paper off of the walls.

The Michigan State Police were called, and students were escorted off of the property and onto their charter buses. The Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity and Sigma Delta Tau sorority have been reportedly suspended by their national organizations after the events at the Gaylord ski resort. The fraternity members were ordered by the University to hold no meetings, events or organized parties, but they were allowed to live in their fraternity house and continue to attend classes. Earlier estimates of damage fell below the actual costs of clean up as reported in earlier videos, when reports indicated that the students would likely be dealt with through the Greek Life judiciary process on the University’s campus.

What do you think? Should the offending students involved in the destruction of the Gaylord resort during the fraternity’s weekend ski party face criminal vandalism charges or should they only have to pay reparations?

[Photo via Treetops Resort]