Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Sued for Human Rights Violations by Students at Howard University

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by Dr Boyce Watkins

According to the Washington City Paper, two women at Howard University are suing Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc for alleged human rights violations.  Laurin Compton and Lauren Cofield claim that the sorority took things too far during their pledging process.  The women allege that they were denied access to the sorority for unfair reasons and that they were also hazed.  Finally, they claim that they were discriminated against for “familial status,” since their mothers are members of the sorority.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in late February and also names Howard University as a defendant.  In the suit, the women complain about unfair treatment during the pledging process, like not being allowed to speak to non-sorority members and being called “weak b*tches.”

The ladies who filed the suit also argue that they were further ostracized as “snitches” when their mothers complained about what was happening on campus.

Does the lawsuit sound like sour grapes or a legitimate gripe?  The women might have more sympathizers if their concerns revolved around serious hazing allegations.  Numerous students have died or been hospitalized due to unreasonable demands being placed on them while being hazed.  Additionally, the pledging process often leads to a massive plummet in student GPAs, causing some to say that it should be abolished altogether.  Over my 20 years teaching on various college campuses, I personally find it odd that some students forget that college is a place to learn, not to ruin your life by over-investing in outside activities.

Several women in my family are AKAs, so I certainly appreciate the appeal that comes with belonging to this prestigious organization.  With that being said, one can only wonder if the suit would have been filed had the women been admitted to the sorority.  Maybe the shortened version of the suit should say, “I went through all this crap only to be rejected?”  So, does this mean that every woman who isn’t admitted can then go file a lawsuit?  I’m sure that thousands of AKA women around the world might have something to say about that.


Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and author of the book, “Black American Money: How Black Power Can Thrive in a Capitalist Society.” To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.  Join Dr. Watkins and Min. Louis Farrakhan in Chicago for the forum on “Wealth, Education, Family and Community: A New Paradigm for Black America” at The University of Illinois at Chicago on March 30, 2013.  You can RSVP here.