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University of Michigan Jewish Fraternity Closing

Sigma Alpha Mu shut down after raucous party left ski resort trashed

Stephanie Butnick
March 30, 2015
(University of Michigan)
(University of Michigan)

The University of Michigan chapter of Sigma Alpha Mu is being shut down after a wild weekend party at a Michigan ski resort in January left the hotel completely trashed and saw several members facing misdemeanor charges since minors were present. The historically Jewish fraternity, commonly referred to as Sammy, reportedly threw one hell of a rager, damaging 45 rooms: “Students destroyed ceiling tiles and exit signs, broke furniture and doors and urinated on carpeting, the resort management said.”

Chapter president Joshua Kaplan and treasurer Zachary Levin, both 19, have been charged with allowing minors to drink alcohol, and a third member was charged with “malicious destruction of property over $1000.” The university described the incident as “reprehensible.”

According to the fraternity’s website (the impressive, “Sigma Alpha Mu’s Mission is to foster the development of collegiate men and our alumni by instilling strong fraternal values, offering social and service opportunities, encouraging academic excellence and teaching leadership skills.” The international board of the fraternity, which boasts alums Philip Roth (Bucknell) and Bob Dylan (University of Minnesota before he dropped out), voted last week to shut down the chapter.

As of this morning, Sigma Alpha Mu was not listed on Michigan’s list of Interfraternity Council members. Members living in the house reportedly have until May 3, the end of the semester, to move out.

Stephanie Butnick is chief strategy officer of Tablet Magazine, co-founder of Tablet Studios, and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.