Commentary — 05 January 2010

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WARNER ROBINS — There won’t be any new members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. for the foreseeable future.

An electronic letter sent to members by the fraternity’s general president, Herman “Skip” Mason Jr., says future intake processes for new members are suspended indefinitely, citing “the failure of some of our members to behave honorably and with care.”

His message comes less than a month after suspected hazing by members of the fraternity’s Fort Valley State University chapter left one member seriously injured and another member arrested for apparently causing the injuries.

“Following my review of 2009, it became clear to me that one area that needs our immediate focus is the conduct of brothers involved in the intake process,” Mason letter stated. “Our process was designed with the assumption that our members would conduct themselves honorably and with care. Regretfully, in several instances, that has not occurred. “This means that all membership intake activities shall be and are hereby suspended until further notice.”

One man, 21-year-old Bryson Trumaine Amey, was charged with felony aggravated battery in connection with an incident that Fort Valley police say occurred on the evening of Nov. 29. The incident left 19-year-old Brian Tukes hospitalized. Tukes, a 2008 graduate of Westside High School in Macon, was diagnosed with acute renal failure and admitted to the Houston Medical Center on Nov. 30. He was later transferred to The Medical Center of Central Georgia. He has since been discharged.

Efforts to reach Tukes and Amey were unsuccessful Monday.

The incident report mentions that the suspect or suspects apparently used their hands, fists or other body parts to physically assault Tukes at the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity house at 603 Carver Drive. The report says the hazing went on from Sept. 10 to Dec. 1. Information on the incident report for 14 people listed as witnesses was redacted.

Tukes’ mother, Phyllis Tukes, informed university officials of her son’s allegation. The university then alerted the Fort Valley Police Department, which is handling the investigation. The department will hand its findings over to Peach County District Attorney Cliff Woody, who will determine whether other charges will be filed.

Mason said in a statement after the Fort Valley incident that his organization saw hazing as an act against the entire Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, and that the group’s reputation would be upheld through legal avenues against wrongdoers.

No such legal action has been substantiated. Other than the earlier statement and the letter sent to members over the weekend, the fraternity has been mum on the subject.

Brian Joseph Anthony Kelly, spokesman for the fraternity out of its national office in Baltimore, said by phone Monday that answers to several questions, including what incidents contributed to the decision to halt intake and whether all were related to physical hazing, would be sent via e-mail. By Monday night, that e-mail had not been received.

To contact writer Marlon A. Walker, call 256-9685.

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Morris W. O'Kelly (Mo'Kelly) is a columnist, radio and television commentator. Visit https://mrmokelly.com for the latest from Mr. Mo'Kelly. He is heard weekends from 6-8pm on KFI AM640 in Los Angeles. The program is available via the iHeartRadio app and for download on iTunes and all podcasting apps. Find him on social media - @mrmokelly (twitter and instagram) facebook.com/themokellyshow Contact Mo'Kelly: @mrmokelly

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