The Washington City Paper today files from Georgia Avenue, where two students at Howard University have filed a lawsuit against Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., and have named Howard University as a defendant, for alleged hazing and complicit allowance of hazing. From the City Paper:
Some of the “hazing” rules sound innocuous, if extensive, like being forbidden from wearing the sorority colors of pink and green or any colors that could be blended into pink and green. In one humorous moment, the lawsuit notes that the pledges, who were called the “sweets,” couldn’t even wear white pearls.
Other hazing allegations are more serious. At one point, the pledges were told not to talk to non-sorority members at Howard, according to the suit. “[Alpha Kappa Alpha members] on campus addressed the sweets by calling them weak bitches,” Compton’s mother wrote in a complaint to the sorority.
Here’s how this could end. The two women are allowed to join AKA, and ostracized for the rest of their days as members. They would be on every list for dirty looks, blank stares, eye rolls and judgmental “mmm hmms,” from every AKA who has Internet or cell phone access throughout the globe. On campus, they will never earn the respect, admiration or attention they initially hoped to gain by joining AKA at its charter undergraduate chapter. In fact, they could become campus laughingstocks among Greeks and non-Greeks; groups which subscribe to different social hierarchical systems, but universally understand and value discretion and finding a way to overcome obstacles.
On paper, their stand against hazing could be construed as noble and courageous; many brothers and sisters in a slew of organizations have taken the same stand and those organizations have benefited as a result.
But minus episodes of extraordinary physical or mental violence, the suit comes off, even if slightly, as a plea for help from two women who feel entitled to membership and think they will benefit in a post-Robert Champion world of hazing sensitivity.
In the effort to prevent mental desecration and physical trauma committed and accepted by young people searching for identity, have we now entered a new era of social entitlement? Have our sins of selfishness, power hunger, and elitism now created a new path for people to set new rules of engagement for brotherhood and community service?
Do those outside of Greek organizations now hold all of the power of entrance into the same?