On January 17, over 100 University of Michigan students—most of them members of Sigma Alpha Mu and its sister sorority Sigma Delta Tau—packed into 45 rooms at the Treetops Resort in northern Michigan. By the time the weekend-long party was over, the resort was a wreck; ceiling tiles were smashed, furniture was destroyed, and students had reportedly urinated on everything, including the hotel's carpet.
Initially, the resort's general manager Barry Owens estimated the damage at about $100,000; now Owens says the bill is four times larger.
"If you just look at our out-of-pocket expenses, things we've paid to contractors, third parties, it's around $230,000," Owens told the Detroit Free Press. "It doesn't take into consideration management time or damage to the resort's reputation. Our accountants and attorneys are saying that this could be up to an additional $200,000…We're now talking a total of $430,000."
On Friday, University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel banned Sigma Alpha Mu from campus life for at least four years and asked the fraternity's national council to revoke its charter. He also said the frat would pay "full restitution" for the damages caused. Sigma Delta Tau received a two-year disciplinary suspension.
Despite Schlissel's assurances and a statement posted to the fraternity's website accepting responsibility, a Treetops spokeswoman told the Free Press that the fraternity said it was "unwilling to accept liability and pay restitution" and has so far paid only $25,000.