By Katrease Stafford, Michigan.com | Battle Creek Enquirer
DOVER TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A University of Michigan fraternity has apologized after officials at a ski resort say its members caused thousands of dollars in vandalism.
Treetops Resort manager Barry Owens said the students were escorted from the premises by Michigan State Police last weekend after causing $50,000 in damage. The resort is in Dover Township near Gaylord.
Owens said Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity members caused significant damage to furniture, carpet, walls and ceilings.
Sigma Alpha Mu Michigan chapter President Joshua Kaplan says his members “are embarrassed and ashamed of the behavior” of some members. He says the chapter “accepts full responsibility” and “will be working with the management of the resort to pay for all damages and cleaning costs.”
“This behavior is inconsistent with the values, policies, and practices of this organization,” Kaplan said in a statement. “We will work within our own organization and with university officials to hold those who are responsible accountable for their actions.
Kaplan said there will be no further comment from his chapter or organization.
“They caused an excessive amount of damage,” Owens said. “The rooms were just a pigsty. Unfortunately, I’ve been in this business for 30 years and it’s the worst condition of rooms that I’ve ever seen. There were broken ceiling tiles in the hallway, broken furniture, broken windows. There’s carpet that’s going to need to be replaced.”
Owens said there were more than 120 people, men and women, in about 45 rooms.
“A lot of the rooms were just very, very dirty,” he said. “There were holes in the walls and different things like that. They were very disruptive to additional guests that were here.”
Owens said prior to the students being removed, resort staff attempted to rectify the situation.
“We tried to address it with them, but we made a mistake and took these people at their word when they said they would change their behavior,” he said.
The resort is considering its options, including pursuing criminal charges against the fraternity. Owens said the resort also has a meeting planned with university officials.
“Someone from the staff has had discussions with them and we anticipate having further discussion with the school,” he said.
Owens said crews have been working around the clock to clean up the damage.
“While there’s a lot of damage, we have significant resources,” he said. “A bunch of the rooms that had issues are fixed up and this will cause no interruption in business.”
Officials say members of two other Michigan fraternities damaged condominiums at Boyne Highlands near Harbor Springs.
U-M Spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said in a statement that the university “is very disappointed in the behavior of some of our students.” Fitzgerald said the organizations and individuals involved will be held accountable.
“While we are still gathering information, we understand that the damage at Treetops Resort and Boyne Highlands is expected to total in the thousands of dollars,” Fitzgerald said. “U-M staff members in the Office of Greek Life have begun meeting with the presidents of the fraternities and sororities involved.”
Fitzgerald said the incidents will be addressed through the Greek Life student judiciary process on campus.
“We expect full payment for all damages. The local Greek chapters are in the process of notifying their national organizations, which could bring their own sanctions. We are confident the national organizations will take this seriously and will work through this situation in collaboration with the university.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.