Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority is being blamed for the death of a Northwestern University sophomore.
According to a federal lawsuit filed this week, Jordan Hankins killed herself in January 2017 because of hazing practices of the sorority while pledging in the fall of 2016.
“During the pledging process, Hankins was subjected to various forms of hazing that caused her severe anxiety and depression,” the lawsuit reads. “As a result of the severe anxiety and depression from hazing, Hankins hung herself in her dorm room. It was foreseeable that Hankins would commit suicide as a result of the hazing activities. Defendant AKA Sorority and its agents were advised that the hazing was triggering Hankins’ PTSD, severe depression and anxiety, she was mentally unstable, and she explicitly expressed she was suicidal and had a plan to commit suicide”
The lawsuit names AKA Sorority; the Gamma Chi undergraduate chapter of AKA Sorority at Northwestern; the Delta Chi Omega graduate chapter of the sorority, based in Evanston; Kathy A. Walker Steele, the former central regional director for AKA Sorority; current and former Northwestern students and sorority members Alexandria Anderson, Jalon Brown, Alexandria Clemons, Cariana Chambers, Raven Smith and Bianca Valdez; the chapter’s former graduate adviser, Ava Thompson Greenwell; and the chapter’s former assistant graduate adviser, Ashanti Madlock-Henderson.
In a statement, Northwestern University said “Northwestern remains deeply saddened by the death of Jordan Hankins two years ago, and we continue to send our kindest thoughts and condolences to her friends and family. We are aware of a lawsuit that was recently filed in federal court regarding her death. Northwestern University is not a named party in this lawsuit. The sorority involved has been and continues to be suspended from the University. Because this is a matter now in litigation, the University is not commenting further on the lawsuit.”
The sorority — suspended from campus since May 2017 — will be allowed to return in September 2019 according to Rolling Out.
Alpha Kappa Alpha’s national office has yet to release a statement.