I’ve written a lot of articles about a lot of Greek Life organizations getting suspended for hazing over the years, but rarely, if ever, is it a sorority.
Yes, we all know sororities haze pledges the same way that girls haze each other in regular life (mentally, emotionally, etc), but I don’t think I’ve ever written about an example extreme enough that it actually got the sorority suspended. I’m kind of like … a little impressed?
According to CBS, approximately 12 pledges spoke with investigators about possible hazing at the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority at the University of Pittsburgh. The investigation was opened after one of the pledge’s mothers who noticed bruises on her. The university has since placed Alpha Kappa Alpha on interim suspension.
The mother who contacted police said she was visiting her daughter when the younger woman told her she had been involved in sorority hazing of pledges, Penn Hills Police Chief Howard Burton said.
The mother, her daughter and the other students met with police on Monday, but Burton said he has not determined whether a crime occurred or charges should be filed. A message left at the sorority’s national headquarters seeking their comment on the complaint was not immediately returned.
Burton said the girls were taken to the basement of a private home in Penn Hills, about 10 miles from campus. The chief told CBS Pittsburgh that a mother of one of the alleged victims wanted to report the ladies being hazed by other women on Feb. 21 and Feb. 23, 2018.
On Thursday, March 1, the university said that Alpha Kappa Alpha is suspended until further notice.
Furthermore, Kenyon Bonner, the Dean of Students at the University of Pittsburgh, said that as a result of the incident, the school will be reviewing its policies on fraternities and sororities.
Bonner released a full statement to the school’s fraternities and sororities, which you can read below:
Dear fraternity and sorority community,
I am disappointed to inform you that law enforcement is investigating an alleged incident of hazing within our
fraternity and sorority community. Pending the completion of the investigation, the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority (Iota chapter) has been placed on Interim Suspension of Recognition, while our entire Greek Life community remains on modified social probation because of a prior reported incident.
This most recent incident, involving Alpha Kappa Alpha, is an opportunity for me to be clear about our zero tolerance for hazing at Pitt. Hazing includes any action or situation which recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student. Hazing is destructive, demeaning, and demoralizing and has no place on our campus. Any student found responsible for hazing, regardless of the severity, could be dismissed from the University.
Should this occur, the dismissed student can never return to any University of Pittsburgh campus. Student organizations found responsible for hazing will face similar consequences, including permanent termination of recognition on our campus.
As members of our Pitt community, students are granted many rights and privileges. However, such privileges are, not unconditional. We have placed our trust in you, as Pitt Panthers, to act responsibly, to treat others with respect, and to practice care and compassion for one another. We are a community that promotes mutual respect, dignity and genuine concern for the well-being and safety of others, and we will not tolerate behavior on our campus that directly opposes our most basic institutional values.
As a community, we must actively respond to these types of behavior—and our response must extend beyond words and sanctions. We must all step up, speak up and accept the challenge of defining or even redefining our community. Based on this incident, the Division of Student Affairs will reevaluate the next steps regarding the future of fraternity and sorority life at Pitt. In the meantime, the modified social probation will remain in effect.
While incidents such as this remind us that there is still work to be done, I embrace this challenge as an opportunity to bring about real change. We are better than this, and now is the time for you and your organizations to join me in holding yourselves and each other accountable to effect positive change. I commend students for bringing concerns about hazing to our attention. We will continue to investigate all allegations and to hold responsible individuals accountable for their choices and actions.
Please know that we have many campus resources available to help you file a report and manage your self-care, including Pitt Police, University Counseling Center, Title IX Office, and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.