Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority headquarters speaks on Jordan Hankins lawsuit after days of silence


Daily file photo by Keshia Johnson

Jordan Hankins plays a game in 2016.

Catherine Kim, Campus Editor

In a statement early Friday morning, the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority headquarters said it has a “zero-tolerance” hazing policy, ending the group’s days-long silence after the mother of Jordan Hankins filed a complaint alleging it was responsible for her daughter’s death.

The statement comes after Felicia Hankins filed the complaint in a federal court Tuesday against AKA, two of its regional chapters and nine other defendants regarding the suicide of Jordan Hankins. The complaint alleges that hazing incidents during the pledging process caused Hankins to suffer severe anxiety and depression, which led to her eventual death.

[Read the complaint]

In the statement, Chicago-based AKA –– though “deeply saddened” by Hankins’ death –– declined to comment on the details of the complaint and her suicide due to “sensitive nature” of the incident and “the ongoing grief her family is experiencing.”

The sorority also said it educates incoming and current members against hazing, including behaviors that should be avoided and the consequences of such actions, such as suspension and expulsion.

While addressing hazing issues, AKA said the rising suicide rates at universities, including Northwestern, are “alarming.” The sorority said “appropriately staffed mental health centers” are “imperative” for those struggling with mental health on campus.

The Northwestern chapter of AKA has been suspended since May 2017 and is scheduled to be reinstated later this fall. Northwestern, which is not named as a party in the complaint, said on Wednesday it was “deeply saddened” by Hankins’ death, but declined to answer questions.

[Read more: Mother of Jordan Hankins claims Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority responsible for daughter’s death]

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