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Michigan frat in legal fight after accepting women, non-binary members

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The Sigma Phi fraternity at the University of Michigan is fighting its national organization after accepting women and non-binary people as members.

The Detroit News reported that the fraternity started accepting more people when a member came out as a transgender woman and another came out as non-binary in 2016. Since then, the chapter has accepted men and women. Now, the national organization is trying to sever ties with the local chapter, claiming they had “suffered irreparable harm to the valuable Trademarks, including infringement and dilution thereof, and to National Sigma Phi’s image, identity, and goodwill.”

According to the newspaper, the local chapter tried to amend the national organization constitution to allow local chapters to set their own acceptance policies. However, they were prevented. Only one other chapter, at Berkley, supported their policy. The national organization said the Michigan chapter violated the rules and removed permission for the chapter to use the trademark and insurance. The national frat sent a cease and desist letter to Michigan in Dec. 2019.

The News reported that the fraternity did stop using the symbols but that the national organization found the chapter was using the name again. That’s when they filed the lawsuit.

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