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There is absolutely no place for violence in college pledging and the Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) chapter at the University of Pittsburgh learned this lesson the hard way.

The AKA sorority at the University of Pittsburgh has been suspended after a dozen female pledges told police that a hazing incident spiraled out of control.


Penn Hills Police Chief Howard Burton said a mother noticed that her daughter, who was pledging the AKA sorority at the college, suffered bruises on her arms and called the police.

Eleven other girls were involved in the February hazing event and police are investigating because the incidents reportedly became too rough.

“During the course of this, they were maybe hit with a paddle of some sort,” Burton told reporters. “We’ve got a lot of girls who don’t want to talk about it. If they don’t want to be victims, there’s not a heck of a lot we can do with that.”

This isn’t the first time that hazing incidents have been reported on college campuses – and it won’t be the last — although most incidents usually involve male fraternities.

This case, however, involves Black women and comes at a time when influential black female congressional leaders, also AKAs, met in Washington, D.C. last month to support a campaign to honor Ethel Hedgeman Lyle, the founder of the AKAs, with a U.S. Postage Stamp.

“It’s time to honor the central person whose vision launched a sorority for African-American women with the purpose of service to mankind,” according to a website promoting the project.

“In 1908, because of the leadership, determination, savvy, political and intellectual skill of Ethel Hedgeman Lyle, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated was founded,” the website said. “She identified and recruited talented young ladies who worked with her to get the job done. Her legacy has been far-reaching.”

It’s a noble effort but meanwhile, in a letter to the college’s sororities and fraternities, University of Pittsburgh Vice Provost and Dean of Students Kenyon Bonner said he was “disappointed” that he had to place the AKA chapter on suspension.

“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,” he said in the letter. “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. “

Bonner said sororities and fraternities involved in hazing could be terminated and students expelled.

“Based on this incident, the Division of Student Affairs will reevaluate the next steps regarding the future of fraternity and sorority life at Pitt,” Bonner said. “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.”

It’s a shame that the AKA chapter at The University of Pittsburgh has been suspended. Only time will tell how long the suspension will last. For now, this appears to be an isolated incident within the 109-year-old sorority – an incident the sorority says it takes very seriously.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority’s International Communications Committee Chairman Leona Dotson issued this statement to The Pitt News.

“Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority has a zero-tolerance policy for hazing in our sorority and we take any allegations of this nature very seriously,” Dotson said. “We were appalled to learn of hazing allegations against a suspended member who is no longer a student at the University of Pittsburgh. We believe that all existing and prospective members have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. We ensure members’ rights by disciplining those who violate Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority’s policies and procedures.”

Here’s the bottom line: Put some power behind those lofty words. Get rid of hazing – once and for all. Students have been seriously injured as a result of hazing and some have died. Hazing has no place in college life and it shouldn’t be part of Ethel Hedgeman Lyle’s legacy.

What do you think?




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17 thoughts on “U of Pittsburgh’s AKA Chapter Suspension Underscores Need To Stop Hazing

  1. October on said:

    This is one reason I didn’t pledge. Just couldn’t understand hazing. Why must I be beaten to belong to an Organization?

  2. Ted Gravely on said:

    Aw, come on Skee Wees. This is a Serious Matter, and y’all are better than this. Where was the Grad Advisor? Too bad the mom didn’t seek out that Grad Advisor. The young lady may be ostracized and the relationships she was building possibly shredded. Bruises on her arm are serious, but wish she sought out the Dean of Pledges or Grad Advisor to get facts and then make a decision. Now Frats and Sisters, do better. Pledges shouldn’t be whipped nor abused. It’s about Service, Sisterhood/Brotherhood, and Scholarship. There are other things, but focus on those big three. You want to know how dedicated your pledges are – you can make them support the local boys and girls club, volunteer for a charitable organization or hospital, do other community work or fund raisers. Now your sorority or fraternity is receiving positive press and your pledges are getting great exposure. Also, make them study their work during other times as well as their organization history. Trust me when they cross the burning sands you will have earned their respect for life. They want remember you because you hit the hardest, but because of the knowledge you imparted and the values you enforced. Think differently.

    • leadjustone on said:

      Well said Ted Gravely! No one deserves to be beaten. It serves no useful purpose in an institution of higher learning. I hope this “tradition” goes away.

      • “No one deserves to be beaten.” Tell that to the dumbbells who let themselves be whacked around for the honor of “belonging” Ridiculous.

  3. Alecia on said:

    Sororities and Fraternities are not satanic. They are organizations that were formed with a purpose to help in situations where there was and continues to be no help. Every one of them stands on the hierarchy of God first, then family, then organization. No one ever tells you to worship your group so all that is a myth. However, hazing of any type is not welcomed. Physical and mental abuse are not tolerated and when these young people exercise this type of behavior, they are going against the current policies and procedures and should have consequences.

  4. ERICA E HARRIS on said:

    When will people wake up to the truth that these Greek sororities and fraternities are wicked and satanic? God commands His followers to not worship any other gods,

  5. When a lot of women get together especially with the baggage’s that they carry, whom ever is pledging gonna catch pure hell. Especially with the crap they go through.

  6. leadjustone on said:

    Never have understood the desire to be a part of any organization that requires it’s prospective members to be beaten, eat disgusting stuff, or submit to other forms of humiliation. I never bought into the b s about these initiations “building sisterhood”. I love me some me, and ain’t no way in hell I would stay for this kind of nonsense! Needless to say, I am not a member of a Greek organization. Hazing should be banned, period!

    • harold williams on said:

      all Fraternity and Sorority live is not like that at all. You will have to have pledged to actually know. Don’t discuss anything you know absolutely nothing about.

      • leadjustone on said:

        No, actually I don’t need to have pledged to be informed about pledging. I have many friends who are members. They love to tell about all that they endured during the pledging process. Seem to wear it as a badge of honor! All are happy that they earned their stripes, and I’m happy for them. Fortunately for everyone, you don’t get to decide who may and who may not comment on this site! It’s an open forum. You have your opinion. I have mine.

  7. Amber on said:

    Stupid. When will these groups learn you are going to get caught. People have been telling these groups to stop hazing since I was in college and beyond and they got in trouble.

      • Deric Adger on said:

        Easier said than done. Many of these kids are young and impressionable. Knowing that there a process to “pledging a lot of them place blind trust in the members initiating them. More transparency is needed in regards to what is expected of prosepctives.

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