Joining a fraternity can be challenging. But for one Bowie State University student, the risks outweighed the benefits. Kevin Hayes, a junior at the school is suing Alpha Phi Alpha, the nation’s oldest Black fraternity for hazing.
A Bowie State University student has filed a $3 million lawsuit against a fraternity, claiming he was beaten and hazed while pledging.
Student Kevin Hayes sued the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Monday in Prince George’s County Circuit Court for battery/hazing, false imprisonment and gross negligence.
The lawsuit claims APA Fraternity members Mike Ross, Keenan Goins and others punched, hit, slapped, body slammed and paddled Hayes during the fall of 2013. Goins was a graduate student and Ross was not a student at the time, according to the lawsuit.
The state of Maryland, Alpha Phi Alpha and Bowie State University all have anti-hazing laws in place. Alpha Phi Alpha, formed on the campus of Cornell University in 1906 is the first of the ‘Divine 9’ Black fraternities and sororities. It’s members include several HBCU college presidents, Ebony founder John H. Johnson, singer Lionel Richie, actors Omari Hardwick, Hill Harper, Terrell Tilford and Tim Reid, journalist Roland Martin and more.
Bowie State issued a statement that read:
Bowie State University is aware of the the lawsuit filed today alleging an incidence of hazing by a fraternity on our campus. We understand that the university is not named as a party in the suit and we are not able to comment about any allegations cited in the suit. Bowie State University has a stringent anti-hazing policy that is coupled with a strong anti-hazing education program. The university considers hazing to be indefensible and contrary to the interest of the university community. We work continuously with Greek and other student organizations to assure understanding that no activity that causes mental, physical or social harm will be tolerated.
Alpha Phi Alpha, which has been suspended as per protocol pending an investigation, says they have no immediate comment.