Seven Zeta Phi Beta Members Face Assault and Hazing Charges

The University of Maryland, where charges of hazing have been made (WPGC)
The University of Maryland, where charges of hazing have been made (WPGC)

Black America Web is reporting that seven former and current members of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority were formally charged with assault and hazing last week after allegedly beating and severely bruising a former pledge at the University of Maryland.
According to court documents, Lavisha McClarin said that she was choked, shoved into a wall and hit on her buttocks with an oak paddle by the sorority members on more than one occasion. The assaults are alleged to have taken place in two different locations, one of which is the home of Kandyce Jackson, a 32-year-old member of the organization. Both alleged attacks occurred in October 2010.


After the second hazing incident, McClarin reported the attacks to the University of Maryland and withdrew from the historically black sorority. The university suspended Zeta Phi Beta indefinitely in November 2010. The other members charged are Amber Bijou, 22; Bridget Blount, 24; Montressa Hammond, 24; Tymesha Pendleton, 26; Zakiya Shivers, 26; and Monika Young, 23. "Hazing of any kind is strictly prohibited, and is inconsistent with the principles of the sorority," according to a statement by Zeta Phi Beta spokeswoman Stacye Montez.

A lawyer for Pendleton, who is weeks away from earning a graduate degree and who has been accepted into a Ph.D. program, denies the charges, saying that his client finds hazing "abhorrent" and isn't sure how her name appeared on the list. Pendleton is accused of being one of the members who struck and choked the pledge.

Why would young women with so much to lose even expose themselves to the possibility of jail and expulsion? What's the point of being "made" or "pledged" if you're behind bars for doing it? If folks were "dropping dimes" back in the day when pledging was legal, then why wouldn't pledges tell when it is illegal? The risk is too high, and what does beating and choking a woman have to do with sisterhood? We suspect if you polled groups of sisters, beating and choking one another would not be anywhere in their relationships — especially as adults.

Graduate students, particularly a 32-year-old adult, should know better and do better. Hazing gives black women and black sororities a black eye. Quite frankly, we don't need any more bad press.

Read more at Black America Web.

In other news: Lawmakers Push President Obama to Be Tougher on Libya.