Laurin Compton and Lauren Cofield are two Howard University seniors currently suing Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated for violating their human rights. On February 28th, the two students filed a federal lawsuit against the sorority and named Howard University as a defendant as well. The university is being sued for failing to protect them against hazing.
According to the Washington City Paper, both students expressed interest in the sorority in 2010, when they were both freshmen. Compton and Cofield attended “Ivy Day”, but are now alleging there was hazing involved throughout the process.
Some of the “hazing” rules sound innocuous, if extensive, like being forbidden from wearing the sorority colors of pink and green or any colors that could beblended into pink and green. In one humorous moment, the lawsuit notes that the pledges, who were called the “sweets,” couldn’t even wear white pearls.
Other hazing allegations are more serious. At one point, the pledges were told not to talk to non-sorority members at Howard, according to the suit. “[Alpha Kappa Alpha members] on campus addressed the sweets by calling them weak bitches,” Compton’s mother wrote in a complaint to the sorority.
What makes the situation interesting is the fact that both Cofield’s and Compton’s mothers are members of Alpha Kappa Alpha. The Howard University seniors feel that their rights have been violated because they’re being treated differently because of their “familial status”—a protected class under the D.C. Human Rights Act. Both Cofield and Compton attempted to apply again, but were told because of a cap on membership they couldn’t be accepted. They feel as legacies, they should be given first dibs on being inducted, but the sorority isn’t willing to budge on the cap.
What do you think about the lawsuit?