Peanut butter rubbed on face of passed out CMU student with peanut allergy was 'just a joke'

Student says he didn't know man was allergic to peanuts

MT. PLEASANT, Mich. – Police reports have been filed with both Central Michigan University officials and the Mt. Pleasant Police Department after a student with a peanut allergy was allegedly hazed by having peanut butter rubbed on his face.

The now former student from Marysville was passed out at an off-campus fraternity when the peanut butter was rubbed on his face, according to his mother.

The student who smeared the peanut butter on the man's face said the incident has been blown way out of proportion.

Teresa Seely said the incident happened in the fall, but her son didn't tell his family until Tuesday. Seely was furious about the incident and went public, posting a picture of her son on her Facebook page.

She said her son has a deadly peanut allergy and could've been killed.

"We really take these things seriously, and when we learned of this, we responded immediately," CMU spokesperson Heather Smith said.

CMU officials said the fraternity was closed in 2011 because of hazing incidents.

"This is not a recognized fraternity, and we got rid of them because they were doing things we did not agree with as a university," officials said.

When Local 4 stopped by the Alpha Chi Rho house and spoke to the student who spread the peanut butter on the man's face, he and other students said it wasn't hazing. They said it was a harmless prank.

"It was just a joke trying to be funny and put it on his face," the student said. "We didn't know he was allergic. It was just college students being kids."

The students at the house said they offered to pay for the man's medical bills.

"We're sorry to his family that just trying to be funny made it look like we were violent," he said. "We were not trying to be violent in any sense."

The victim left CMU after just one semester. The students at the fraternity house said he didn't leave because of the peanut butter incident, but because he got a tennis scholarship to another school.

CMU officials said the students could face legal consequences, suspension or expulsion, depending on the investigation.

A national spokesman for Alpha Chi Rho in New Jersey said the group is petitioning to become a fraternity again, but the petition was immediately suspended when the peanut butter incident came to light.

About the Authors:

Jason anchors Local 4's 5:30 p.m. newscast. He joined WDIV in January 2015 as a general assignment reporter and has a Journalism degree from Michigan State University.

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.