See the documents
See the letter from CU's SAFE Committee and the Interfraternity Council on the Hill appeal request in this story at dailycamera.com.
After a fraternity-hosted football tournament on the University of Colorado campus, in which some of the men reportedly fought and used racist slurs, all of Boulder's fraternities have been banned from renting campus spaces for a year.
The fraternities of the Interfraternity Council on the Hill have been independent from CU for more than a decade, but they regularly pay fees to rent rooms on campus to host chapter meetings and other events, said Marc Stine, the IFC on the Hill's Greek advocate and spokesman.
Zeta Beta Tau fraternity members hold an annual "Buff Bowl" football tournament to raise money for a charity, this year it was Children's Miracle Network. On Nov. 3, however, fights broke out among participants and spectators of the games on South Kittredge Field, according to a letter CU officials sent to the fraternity chapter Jan. 14 obtained by the Daily Camera.
Student referees reported they were concerned about being physically attacked because of participants' threats and demeanor, and one referee reported that fraternity members directed racist slurs at him.
"Workplace safety concerns brought forward by referees who worked the event including the following: ... A referee reporting that members of Theta Xi called him a racial slur ... and yelled death threats at him," according to the letter.
Other referees and Rec Center staff reported being called other derogatory and abusive insults, and one referee quit and refused to continue to work the event.
One person drove a motorcycle "at a high rate of speed through a crowd of about 200 spectators and players," and the final game was cancelled because both teams were disqualified for fighting during the semi-final games.
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CU and Boulder police officers expressed concern that "the fights could lead to a 'full out brawl' affecting the safety of the officers, participants, and spectators if this occurred," according to the letter. Medics transported four people to the hospital, and another five people refused transportation.
In a summary of Zeta Beta Tau's defense, CU noted that chapter leaders cited a lack of adequate referees officiating the games as a contributing factor but did not dispute racist slurs were used. Instead, chapter leaders said it was members of Sigma Nu, not Theta Xi, who used racist slurs. They also acknowledged there were fights, but highlighted that not all the teams engaged in fighting, according to the letter.
Stine said the event was not well organized, but said it was unfair the university was punishing IFC on the Hill for an event organized by Zeta Beta Tau, not the council, and for the actions of a few brothers and chapters at the event. He also said the injuries were the result of rough flag football, not fighting.
"I don't disagree that it was not well organized, and I don't disagree that there were some undergraduates who behaved inappropriately on campus during this event," Stine said. "The Interfraternity Council on the Hill has already had judicial board hearings for those chapters those men were in, for unsportsmanlike conduct, and has directed Zeta Beta Tau that they're not going to have this philanthropy again next year or in the foreseeable future and that there will need to be a complete re-write and re-vamp.
"We had handled all of those things internally because that's how we operate, because the university is not part of our operation."
He declined to specify which chapters were sanctioned, or how they were sanctioned, beyond Zeta Beta Tau, but he said there were several more that faced sanctions. He said the sanctions were sufficient.
"The vast majority of those men, the vast majority of those fraternities have nothing to do with this incident because it was not an IFC event," he said.
He also said the IFC on the Hill and all chapters were banned without his staff being directly alerted or allowed to respond. The IFC on the Hill, via legal counsel Michael Smith, on Jan. 29 submitted an appeal against all canceled room reservations and the ban. They are awaiting a response.
"It gets a little rowdy, as you would expect of any football tournament between 19-year-olds," Smith said. "They are boys, and they get excited playing football. It's not like croquet."
Both Smith and Stine said they were most concerned about finding a venue for the Greek 101 event they planned to host on campus Monday. Spring rush runs through Sunday, and the IFC on the Hill hosts Greek 101 for all new members and chapter leaders. Most Boulder venues aren't large enough or are too far from campus, they said, and they use the event to teach fraternity members about alcohol poisoning and calling 911, as well as expectations around hazing and sexual harassment and assault polices.
"For some reason, the university's decided to just do seemingly everything they can to make it difficult for the undergraduates to succeed," Smith said.
The SAFE committee, which reviews campus events, is reviewing the appeal, CU spokeswoman Melanie Parra said in a written statement.
However, she noted, the IFC on the Hill and its member organizations were already on probation for facility rentals because of "similar inappropriate behavior that occurred at the spring flag football event held on April 13, 2018."
"The SAFE Committee ... revoked facility rental privileges for IFC on the Hill and its member chapters due to dangerous and violent incidents that occurred at a Nov. 3, 2018 flag football event on South Kittredge Field," she said. "Safety expectations, which were reviewed with the organizers prior to the event, were not met. There were multiple reports of fights, injuries due to violent activity, discriminatory language, aggressive behavior, alcohol consumption and other violations of university policies."
The incidents at the event were referred to the Student Conduct Office for review, but the university does not release student disciplinary information.
Cassa Niedringhaus: 303-473-1106, firstname.lastname@example.org