Saturday, February 4, 2023

Former MTSU fraternity pledge subjected to racial discrimination, lawsuit says

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Story by Matthew Giffin | News Editor

A former Middle Tennessee State University student filed a lawsuit against the Kappa Sigma Fraternity alleging he was subjected to racial discrimination while attempting to become a member in the fall 2021 semester, according to a report from WKRN.

In the lawsuit, filed on Friday, Oct. 12, in a Nashville court, the plaintiff names 10 white students who allegedly targeted him and another student — both Black — with racial hazing, the report said. Specific examples of the alleged discrimination included the students being called the N-word by fraternity members, threats of kidnapping and hanging, fraternity members playing “slave music,” and discussions about the Ku Klux Klan.

The two Black students allegedly subjected to this discrimination are said to have been the only Black pledges in MTSU’s Kappa Iota chapter of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity at the time.

When the Black pledges objected to their treatment, one of the white defendants allegedly told them to “respect our culture” and “you know what type of frat you joined,” according to WKRN.

The plaintiff, who suffered “emotional distress, mental anguish, anxiety, fear, degradation, humiliation and depression,” according to the lawsuit, is seeking $15 million from the defendants in compensation.

“The Kappa Sigma Fraternity as a matter of policy does not comment on current or active litigation,” the Kappa Sigma Fraternity told News 2 when they reached out for a statement.

The lawsuit comes after the National Kappa Sigma Office permanently expelled MTSU’s Kappa Iota chapter from campus in March for violations of the fraternity’s code of conduct, including “hazing, underage drinking and conduct unbecoming,” according to MTSU’s website.

“The MTSU Office of Fraternity and Sorority Lifeprovides training each semester to members, chapter officers, and new members related to the topics of hazing, fraternal values, and power-based violence,” MTSU said in a statement to MTSU Sidelines when asked to comment about the lawsuit. “Furthermore, we have provided education on diversity, equity, and inclusion while also requiring each chapter to set a goal in the area of ‘Respect for Diversity’ as part of their annual goal-setting process.”

To contact News Editor Matthew Giffin and Assistant News Editor Kailee Shores, email newseditor@mtsusidelines.com.

For more news, visit www.mtsusidelines.com, or follow us on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines or on Twitter at @Sidelines_News.

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