The prestigious Black Greek letter fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha has been hit with a major hazing lawsuit. Bowie State University student Kevin Hayes filed the lawsuit on Monday in Prince George’s County Circuit Court for battery/hazing, false imprisonment and gross negligence. Hayes stated in the lawsuit that Alpha Phi Alpha members Mike Ross, Keenan Goins and others punched, hit, slapped, body slammed and paddled Hayes during the fall of 2013.
According to the lawsuit, Hayes was subjected to well-known Alpha Phi Alpha hazing punishments known as jewel shockers (side slaps), back racks (back slaps), fat Joes (chest slaps), as well as taking “wood” (paddling). A graphic photo shows the extent of the bruising that Hayes received to his buttocks from being hit with wooden paddles.
In addition, the lawsuit claims that members of the Alpha Phi Alpha chapter threatened Hayes and other initiates about snitching to authorities regarding their treatment as “Sphinxmen.” The lawsuit alleges that Hayes and his mother were threatened by members of the fraternity. Bowie State University issued the following statement:
“Bowie State University is aware of 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.”
It is a well-known fact among all Black Greek letter organizations that one hazing lawsuit could bankrupt a fraternity or sorority. Because of this, individual chapters and members are held liable by the national organization when it comes to hazing. Some fraternities use the term “intake” process instead of pledging to signify the end of hazing. Every Black Greek letter organization has been hit at some point with a hazing crisis or a hazing lawsuit.