Howard Students File Suit to Join AKA…This May Not End Well

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?

  • Bro Corey

    Violence begets Violence begets Violence. These young individuals whom have earned their letters hav3 done just that…earned…not owned…& with that said…by all means protect the organization, but also PROTECT the Institution & the foundation of it as well…the organization will forever live on in history even if no onw else ever becomes a member therefore stopping its time travel thru history…thru members. The importantance is carrying the torch correctly & covering your 6 in accordance with keeping it honorable & not creating hostilities from Neo pledges even after they make it through. I am a member of Iota Phi Theta Frat. Inc., a Mason & a United States Marine & I know the pain of going thru it for the love of an organization. I love all 3 of my organizations & eveh though I didn’t/don’t always get along with my brothers here & there, there will/is always a mutual respect. If he’s thinking like I am, then WE WILL always protect the organization.

  • http://facebook edjeana grant

    Its not about the colors—-AKA is very selective. When my late mother was an AKA, it was stated that members and their family(legacy) could be members. My daughter made it undergrad but due to finishing school–she had to resign. Now, she is trying very hard to get in under the legacy clause and they won’t even acknowledge her based on legacy rules and it is getting hard for her as well. I agree that these sisters may have issues if they win the suit–but AKA should be fair and square and not discriminate.

    • peaceful

      Edjeana_ quick question for clarity: is she trying to claim legacy because of the grandmother???? Legacy rules, means the mother who is active is or the father/active is, it doesn’t skip back to grandparents- unless she was adopted and raised by the grandmother. Also, I think you said, she was on line and resigned? On campus that’s called, “dropped line”. Good luck to her, but honestly, if you, her mother isn’t an active member, she can’t get in on legacy and I don’t know anyone who has dropped line and was allowed to re-enter the initiation process. Legacy rules have been the same since I was kid and I’m 42 and I’m pretty sure they were the same before that, otherwise, I’d be greek because my aunts always wanted me to join their sorority and always said, if I were their daughter, I would be their legacy. Good luck to her.

  • BodaciousAKA

    Asking a pledge to refrain from wearing the sorority colors and symbols is not “hazing,” it’s common courtesy and respect. How dare these young ladies be so presumptuous that they feel entitled to dress and look like AKA’s before they are even initiated? Apparently, they are suffering a form of identity crisis that initiation into the most prestigious sorority founded by African American women can’t cure. They need to grow up and get a life.

  • KTM

    Actually it’s not about trying to belong due to low self esteem it could be wantin to network and expand your network base. Hazing is wrong no matter what and its even worse that black organizations would inflict this on our own. That’s where the low self esteem is among those that feel they need to do this to other blacks. It’s sad and not just on the undergrad level but the grad level in other sororities too. Trust me I know.

    • JW

      I too agree that hazing is wrong, but never has it been a “human right” become a member of a BGLO. I am a firm believer that the elimination of official pledging processes is one factor that led to young people feeling a sense of entitlement towards fraternities and sororities.

  • Eden

    The things people do just to belong. Smh.