5 Controversial Sorority Hazings
Living the Greek life is a common college experience. Movies like “21 & Over” make you laugh and think that such organizations are pretty harmless.
Then there are, of course, films like “The Skulls”, that’s inspired by rumors regarding Yale University’s Skull and Bones student club, not to mention “Animal House”, which is based on the writer’s experience at a fraternity in Dartmouth.
What’s common is that most films and the media show fraternity initiation rituals and college hazings. Those done by sororities don’t usually get the spotlight. But it doesn’t mean that they don’t exist.
Here are some of the 5 most controversial initiation rites done by sororities at US colleges.
Delta Sigma Theta
One student pledging for this sorority in 2009 said that she suffered punches to the face, while a bucket of cold water was poured over her. Vinegar was also squirted into her eyes while this was going on.
The student, then 21-year-old Jasmine Johnson, also suffered several beatings to the head and stomach, which resulted in a concussion and bleeding in her lower private parts.
When she was hospitalized, one member leading the initiation rite was charged with assault, but five students were put under investigation.
The Delta Sigma Theta was put under lockdown by the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga. Members were no longer allowed to meet or conduct business.
Kappa Kappa Gamma
Although not one of the pledges filed a lawsuit, it was clear that the sorority’s ritual had put them one step closer to their deaths.
In 2012, Ravital Sigal said that during a rushing process for the Dartmouth College sorority, she, together with the other pledges, was blindfolded and told to drink 64-ounces of an alcoholic mixture. While chugging down the drink, she was told to down some vodka shots.
After drinking and being told to get out of the car where all the pledges were placed, she blacked out and woke up in the ICU of the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, with bruises and cuts all over her body. She was even missing two teeth.
It was obvious that she didn’t merely pass out, but Sigal had no memory after drinking, and so could not say for sure if she was beaten.
She wasn’t alone, though. There were other pledges also admitted to the hospital because of a drinking hazing ritual.
Sigal was later informed that she had a .399 blood alcohol content, and that a .400 would have sent her to a coma, and possibly death.
In 2013, one recruit for this sorority, Jo Hannah Burch, claimed that pledges were forced to crawl through mud in the woods, while enduring verbal abuse and spit.
They were also told to sit on top of a washing machine without clothes on, and were subjected to further humiliation by sorority sisters who would mark their body parts with a marker.
The allegations made their way to the student paper, but the school, Young Harris College, did not allow the piece to be printed, and the two college professors who wanted to discuss the issues were fired.
The Greek life is alive and evident in YHC, as even professors show their support to their fraternities and sororities since 1989. Most of the Greek clubs are local, with only two being from a national organization.
Gamma Psi is a local sorority, and as such, enjoys local and familiar support, but this local, tight-knit community can inspire a hush-hush of rumors and controversies among its members.
Sigma Gamma Rho
This sorority at Rutgers University landed a pledge in the hospital after she was nearly paddled to death. It was 2010, and the student decided to sue her attackers. Six of them were arrested, but were later on released on bail, and were awaiting trial.
Although Sigma Gamma Rho denied the allegations, the school shut down the sorority, but one of the sorority members’ closest friend had said in an interview that people were angry that the girl had “ratted out” and that she had just ensured her social pariah school status.
The interviewee, a senior, also said that hazing with paddles was a common rite in the school.
Alpha Kappa Alpha
While the other pledges on this list suffered physical abuse or had a close brush with death, two recruits for the Alpha Kappa Alpha of the California State University in Los Angeles actually drowned while doing an initiation rite.
Kenitha Saafir and Kristen High, with three other pledges, were doing physical exercises for the sorority. Then, they were told to walk backwards into the sea at a beach in Playa del Rey.
Saafir, who didn’t know how to swim, was swept away. High tried to save her. Instead, the two girls drowned.
But the AKA organization was the oldest and most popular African-American sorority in the country, with 900 chapters nationwide. It even had famous writers Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison in its members list.
After the incident, it was only then revealed that the AKA national organization had not opened an official chapter at the CSU Los Angeles campus.