Posts Tagged ‘hazing’
Since 2009, there have been several lawsuits filed in regard to alleged financial
malfeasance on the part of Barbara McKinzie, Alpha Kappa Alpha’s former national head. In the Illinois Circuit Court, sorority members brought suit in Shackelford v. Alpha Kappa Alpha and Purnell v. Alpha Kappa Alpha. In the District of Columbia, sorority members brought suit in Daley v. Alpha Kappa Alpha. In Daley, plaintiffs brought claims of waste, fraud, unjust enrichment, breach of fiduciary duty and wrongful discipline. Prior to filing a lawsuit, the plaintiffs had voiced their concerns at chapter meetings and within the organization. They sought to receive answers from sorority leadership, and when their inquiries were rebuffed they asked to inspect the sorority’s records to assuage their concerns. When they exhausted more amicable options, they initiated a lawsuit against the sorority and its officers and directors. In response, they then had their membership privileges suspended. In late 2011, the D.C. Court of Appeals remanded this case to the D.C. Superior Court for further resolution of the matter (4).
Indeed, there are vast distinctions between brutalizing someone and stealing from one’s fraternity brothers or sorority sisters. There are, however, disturbing commonalities as well. First, they both emerge from a culture of secrecy, rule and law violation, and often persecution of whistle-blowers for “airing the organization’s dirty laundry.” Second, both involve the same set of excuses: “It’s some other member’s fault,” “If the victim(s) didn’t tell, the organization wouldn’t have this problem,” “I’m not the first to do this; it reflects a broader culture and not my own poor judgment,” or “the only reason we know about this incident is because there are people with personal agendas, being vindictive.” While hazing is undeniably far more prevalent than financial malfeasance within BGLOs, the cases brought by BGLO members against their organizations underscore the adage, “where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” The reason that there are far-fewer than a handful of court cases against BGLOs or their leaders for financial malfeasance is only because non-members, those with less compunction to “air dirty laundry about the organizations” than members, are not being directly harmed. Moreover, members who are in-the-know often do not want to harm their organization by taking the matter public or are fearful of being suspended or expelled and ultimately having deep fraternal ties — often intertwined with familial and professional relationships — undermined.
The amazing asymmetry between how BGLOs deal with rule and law violation amongst their rank-and-file members, especially undergraduates, vis-à-vis national leaders, especially the national heads, is disconcerting. The organizations are not hesitant to aggressively go after Joe and Jane Member for hazing. For example, several BGLOs publish the names of suspended and expelled members — often for hazing — on their national websites. Others underscore the fact that they have and will look to the courts to address hazing within their ranks. Reverend Herman “Skip” Mason, the 33rd General President of Alpha Phi Alpha, noted in a December 2009 press release, “We will take every legal means at our disposal, both civil and criminal, to charge and bring to justice any person who commits a crime and tarnishes our good name in the process.” However, when it comes to the national boards of these organizations dealing with financial malfeasance among their national heads, little seems to be done — certainly not to the extent that organizational rules or the law might dictate. Or the organizations are simply slow to act.
Full story HERE.
The Mo’Kelly Report is a syndicated politics and entertainment journal. Visit http://mrmokelly.com for the latest from Mr. Mo’Kelly. Tune into The Mo’Kelly Show Saturdays from 6-8pm PDT on KFI AM640 and SiriusXM 166 Saturdays and Sundays from 8-9pm PDT. Contact Mo’Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NEW YORK — The mother of a 19-year-old Cornell University student who died during an alcohol-related fraternity hazing ritual has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the national fraternity.
Marie Lourdes Andre filed the lawsuit Monday in Brooklyn against the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity. The suit seeks at least $25 million in damages.
George Desdunes (dehz-DOONZ’) was found unconscious on a couch at the fraternity house in Ithaca in February and later was pronounced dead. The lawsuit says he had his hands and feet bound in a mock kidnapping and was made to drink alcohol until he passed out.
Cornell revoked the fraternity’s recognition after the death.
The Mo’Kelly Report is an entertainment journal with a political slant; published at The Huffington Post and EURWEB.com. For the most recent posts of Mr. Mo’Kelly, visit http://mrmokelly.com. Mr. Mo’Kelly can be reached at email@example.com.
Free Subscription to The Mo’Kelly Report HERE
Follow The Mo’Kelly Report on Facebook HERE.
In The Mo’Kelly Report we’ve had extensive discussions on the role and reality of Black Greek Letter Organizations. From Zeta Phi Beta, to Alpha Kappa Alpha sororities to even Phi Beta Sigma and Omega Psi Phi fraternities have all served as entry points into the discussion.
In other words, The Mo’Kelly Report hasn’t played any favorites.
Today is Sigma Gama Rho sorority’s turn. Four members of the San Jose State University chapter of the sorority have been arrested and the national body is being sued for hazing.
(Mind you, this is NOT the same case as the 6 Rutgers members who were arrested earlier this year. This is ANOTHER case in which members have been jailed and the body sued. Hence the GANGSTA nickname. Sigma Gangsta Rho…you’ve earned the moniker. Refresher HERE.)
However, Howard contends, that the group’s pledge process was far from sisterly. According to her complaint, she and fellow pledges were punched, slapped, kicked, slammed into walls, struck with a wooden spoon and a cane, and had books and coins thrown at them during a series of 16 nighttime initiation sessions. Howard recalled one evening when a sorority sister told her to close her eyes. She was then struck on the buttocks with what she later learned was a kitchen pot. The pledges were also frequently struck with a wooden paddle, Howard said, blows that left her with welts on her buttocks.
Howard reported that pledges were repeatedly warned not to talk with friends and family about the initiation process, since “snitches get stitches.” They were also told that if they failed to participate in certain pledge activities, they would be “jumped out,” a gang term for a beating conducted by all members of the group.
Howard’s complaint names as defendants San Jose State University, Sigma Gamma Rho, and various sorority members, including a quartet of women who, court records show, pleaded no contest earlier this year to misdemeanor hazing charges. The defendants–Princess Odom; Monique Hughes; Joslyn Beard; and Nicole Remble–were each sentenced to 90 days in jail, directed to serve two years of court probation, and barred from involvement with any sorority.
FULL STORY HERE.
And can Mo’Kelly say it again…”TOLD YOU SO!” Let’s quote Mo’Kelly…
The argument can be made that as we collectively move further and further away from the principles of brotherhood and sisterhood and closer to big business, these are the inevitabilities. The deficiencies in our brotherhood and sisterhood quotients have borne themselves out from the top down.
On the undergraduate level you hear more and more how it becomes harder for the lay person to distinguish the fraternities from the gangs, for often times the behavior is just that, indistinguishable. Having nothing to do with our “hand signs,” the stepshow altercations between organizations have increasingly become the rule, not the exception.
Maybe the caliber of membership has decreased relative to the sheer numbers of African-Americans in college, which have also dropped. Maybe the talent pool is just too shallow or maybe…just maybe, our organizations have become too shallow in and of themselves.
The Mo’Kelly Report is an entertainment journal with a political slant; published at The Huffington Post and www.eurweb.com. It is meant to inform, infuse and incite meaningful discourse…as well as entertain. For more Mo’Kelly, http://mrmokelly.com. Mr. Mo’Kelly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.