Here we go again. As the spring semester heats up, Greek Letter Organizations from coast to coast will be busy bringing in new members, but some fraternities and sororities take new member initiation too far.
Seven members of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority at the University of Maryland, College Park were charged with hazing and assaulting a pledge who was attempting to join the organization last October. According to complainant, she asserts current and/or former members of the sorority assaulted her on more than three occasions.
The women, ranging in ages from 20 to 26, are scheduled to appear in a Prince George’s County courtroom today.
According to The Washington Post, “The women are accused of pushing the pledge into a wall, hitting her arms and repeatedly striking her with an oak paddle, according to charging documents. Police say the assaults all occurred off campus and resulted in ‘severe bruising’ on the student’s arms and chest.”
After dropping from the pledging process, the complainant reported the alleged assault to university officials, who promptly called the police and suspended the sorority indefinitely.
Although hazing is illegal and outlawed by all Greek Letter Organizations, some still participate in the process under the guise of preserving traditions and fostering sister/brotherhood. However, many members worry that hazing incidents not only damage the reputation of the organizations, but also threaten its future. With many facing expensive lawsuits, Black Greek Letter Organization presidents worry that their beloved organizations are just one major lawsuit away from extinction.
Zeta Phi Beta was founded in 1920 at Howard University and boasts such influential members as Zora Neal Hurston, Gwendolyn Brooks, Dr. Deborah P. Wolfe, and Sarah Vaughan.