Two chapters of an African-American sorority have been accused of beating pledges with wooden paddles and spoons, and one alleged victim says it was done so that pledges “feel what your ancestors went through in slavery, so you will respect what you came from.” Courtney Howard, a former San Jose State University student, claims she was subjected to the hazing over three weeks in 2008 and recently filed a civil suit accusing the university and sorority of negligence.
After her original charges, that chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho was suspended and four members were sentenced to 90 days in jail. In another case involving the same sorority, six members of the Rutgers chapter were arrested in January after a pledge said she was hit 200 times over the period of a week, and ultimately went to the hospital covered in welts and bloody bruises. The members have been charged with hazing and the chapter suspended. Sigma Gamma Rho chapters have had at least two other hazing controversies over the last seven years, the New York Times reports.
(Read more Sigma Gamma Rho stories.)