The New York Times is reporting about two incidents of abuse by the African-American sorority, Sigma Gamma Rho. In the San Jose State case, a woman claimed that she was told that she was beaten so she could understand what her ancestors went through during slavery.
In the San Jose State case, Courtney Howard, a former student at the university, charged in a civil lawsuit, filed Aug. 31, that over a three-week period in 2008 she was subjected to progressively more violent hazing from Sigma Gamma Rho members. Ms. Howard claims in her suit that they beat her and other pledges with wooden paddles, slapped them with wooden spoons, shoved them against the wall, and threatened that “snitches get stitches.”
“One of the girls who was a big sister told me it was supposed to be so you can feel what your ancestors went through in slavery, so you will respect what you came from,” Ms. Howard said.
At Rutgers, six members of Sigma Gamma Rho were arrested in January and charged with aggravated hazing, a felony, after a pledge reported that she had been struck 200 times over seven days before she finally went to the hospital, covered with welts and bloody bruises.
Both the university and the national sorority suspended the Rutgers chapter. The charges were reduced to simple hazing, a disorderly persons offense. The trial, originally set for this month, has been delayed because of the prosecutor’s surgery.