All existing and prospective members have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. These rights are enforced by punishing violations of the Sorority's policies and procedures. A cornerstone of the Sorority's Risk Management policy is the prohibition of hazing.
Hazing has been prohibited in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority since the organization was founded in 1908. In 1999, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority reaffirmed its total opposition to hazing with the publication of a tougher anti-hazing policy and the implementation of new procedures to identify, investigate and punish incidents.
Hazing will not be tolerated in any form.
Definition of Hazing
Hazing is defined as an act or series of acts that include, but are not limited to:
- Physical acts, such as hitting, striking, laying hands upon or threatening to do bodily harm to any individual(s), while acting in one's capacity as a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.
- Behavior which is directed against any individual(s) for the purpose of causing shame, abuse, insult, humiliation, intimidation or disgrace.
- A variety of prohibited practices, including but not limited to, "underground hazing," "financial hazing," "pre-pledging," "post-pledging" or "post-initiation pledging."
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority makes every effort to fully disclose its Risk Management policy, including but not limited to:
- Distributing brochures through university officials and graduate advisors, who, in turn, distribute them to students likely to go through Sorority Rush. These brochures outline the Sorority's Risk Management policies.
- Training chapters on the Risk Management policies during workshops conducted before each chapter begins its Membership Intake Process (MIP)/Rush activities. Undergraduate and graduate members involved in the MIP must promise to treat candidates with respect by signing a Commitment Statement that affirms they will not participate in hazing.
- Distributing a letter to all Rush participants from the respective Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Regional Director that defines hazing and outlines procedures for reporting hazing incidents. This letter is also read audibly as part of the Rush agenda.
- Providing all Rush participants with a copy of the Sorority's Risk Management policy.
During the Membership Intake Process:
- Providing training to graduate advisors and/or graduate councils/committees who serve as mentors for undergraduate members to ensure the Rush and the MIP is conducted properly, without hazing incidents.
- Mandating that candidates under age 21 (unless emancipated under state law), along with their parents/legal guardians, sign an undergraduate form that expresses their interest in joining Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. That form explains the Sorority's strict Risk Management policy on hazing.
By signing the Membership Interest form, undergraduate candidates acknowledge that they have read, understand, agree and will abide by Sorority policy.
By signing the required Candidate Commitment statement, all candidates—graduate and undergraduate—agree to follow Sorority policies on hazing.
Hazing Policy Violations
Any individual or chapter violation of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority's Risk Management policy will result in suspension, expulsion or revocation of the chapter's charter. A fine may also be imposed.
In addition, hazing activities may result in official discipline by a college/university or the imposition of civil and criminal penalties for individuals and/or chapters.
Unofficial [Improper] Contact
All candidates—graduate and undergraduate—should understand that they must not consider contact with a suspended or expelled member to be any part of the Sorority's Membership Intake Process. Members may be, and are, suspended or expelled for reasons other than hazing. However, candidates should not participate in any form of membership activities with any suspended or expelled member. In order to assist candidates in determining who may not contact them on behalf of the Sorority, below are descriptions of the suspension and expulsion penalties, and separate links to list all suspended and expelled members irrespective of the specific reasons for the punishment.
Suspension of a member disqualifies the individual from participating in any and all Sorority activities, in any capacity, until restored to good standing by the Regional Director, upon approval of the International President.
Expulsion permanently revokes the individual's membership in the Sorority.