MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) — A former Middle Tennessee State University student is taking a fraternity to court, alleging he was subjected to racist hazing as he attempted to become a member.
The lawsuit was filed on October 12, 2022, in a Nashville court and is based on incidents that began on October 14, 2021, within the Kappa Iota chapter of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity at MTSU.
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In the lawsuit, the plaintiff specifically names 10 Kappa Iota members — who are all white — who allegedly targeted him and another Black pledge with racial hazing. They are said to have been the only two Black pledges in the class.
It is alleged that the pledges were subjected to the following racial discrimination during the fraternity’s “rush” period:
- Being called the N-word by white fraternity brothers
- Threats of kidnapping, hanging, bounding and having things thrown at them
- Having “slave music” chants (i.e. old slave chants and antebellum field hand music) played
- Discussion of the KKK
Those discriminatory acts are said to have also been accompanied by alcohol abuse and other hazing activities.
One defendant is even alleged to have told the Black pledges to “respect our culture” and “you know what type of frat you joined” when they objected to their treatment, according to the documents.
This lawsuit comes seven months after the Kappa Iota chapter was permanently expelled from the MTSU campus. The chapter was punished by the National Kappa Sigma Office for violations of “the Kappa Sigma Fraternity Code of Conduct including hazing, underage drinking and conduct unbecoming,” according to the MTSU website.
According to the lawsuit, as a result of the alleged abuse, the plaintiff “suffered emotional distress, mental anguish, anxiety, fear, degradation, humiliation and depression,” which forced him to leave the university and the state as well.
The plaintiff is looking for $15,000,000 in compensation from the defendants.
News 2 reached out to the Kappa Sigma Fraternity for a response to the lawsuit but received the following statement, “The Kappa Sigma Fraternity as a matter of policy does not comment on current or active litigation.”