Kappa Alpha Psi Members Arrested After Alleged Hazing Incident

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Your Black World – Scholarship in Action 

The Bakersfield Police Department has confirmed that four men were arrested in a hazing incident involving students at California State University.  As of Saturday, police were investigating an alleged felonious assault involving members of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.

The report was initiated after a 25-year old man was admitted to the hospital as a result of the incident.  The investigation found that between March 28 and April 25, four students were assaulted on multiple occasions.  The assaults included beatings and being shot at close range with a BB gun.

The members of the fraternity involved in the alleged incident are not officially sanctioned by the university.  They do, however, recruit students from the CSUB campus through a club they’ve established.

Ryan Nichols and Deandre Horn, both 22-years old, were arrested in the alleged incident.  They are being charged with assault with a deadly weapon, torture and conspiracy.  Darlington Agu, 24, and Ricky Joy Jr., 20, are being charged with hazing and conspiracy.  Another student, 22-year old Philemon Norris, is wanted and police are searching for him.

As a person who’s taught on college campuses for the last 18 years, I’d like to lay out some quick thoughts for contemplation as a result of this incident.  I’ve seen this kind of thing happen on multiple campuses on which I’ve taught (U. Kentucky, Indiana University, The Ohio State University and now Syracuse) and it honestly leaves me fuming:

1) What in the hell are we thinking? College is a venue for higher learning, not a place where you should deliberately ruin your life by becoming obsessed with Greek culture.  I’ve seen students delay their graduation by several years because they’ve become entrenched in a life full of ridiculous and dangerous behavior.  I know far too many brothers who are alcoholics years later after taking their first drink with their frat brothers on a college campus.  College is a place to learn, not a place to destroy, distract and humiliate yourself and your family.  If any of my kids were to get arrested after being involved in something like this, they’d just have to stay in jail.  

2) Be leaders, not followers.  In many cases, hazing incidents occur because there are group members who are afraid to speak up against stupidity.  So, rather than back away from irresponsible behavior when it happens, some students choose to become complicit.  What young people have to realize is that one bad mistake in one night can send your entire future up in smoke.  These men are now at risk of going through life with felonies on their record, all because they were trying to “fit in with their boys.”  Perhaps it’s time to grow up.

3) One can’t condemn Greek life altogether, for there are many favorable outcomes that result from black Greek letter organizations.  But all too often, Greek affiliations are taken far too seriously, leading to violence, sexual irresponsibility, horrible academic performance and other poor decisions that can serve to jeopardize your ability to get an education.  Perhaps it’s time to call a spade a spade and take a stand against this kind of behavior on our campuses.  We must help our kids understand that college is a place to grow, not the ultimate party spot.  Yes, I said it:  There’s nothing wrong with studying on the weekends – Indian and Asian students do it and their academic performance is off the charts.  Perhaps we should set our standards a little higher and stop congratulating Pookie for the fact that he didn’t drop out of college.  We need to demand that our young men and women be the best that they can be.  Being an outstanding student doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun; but there is something called “balance” which serves as one of the fundamental keys to success.

I feel bad for these young men, for some of them were too young to realize the significance of their mistake.  But we should blame ourselves when this kind of thing goes down, because many of us are afraid to speak up and make it clear to our kids that there’s no room for nonsensical involvement in activities that can undermine your chance to succeed.  Again, this is not indictment against Greek culture in its entirety, but you can’t pretend like you never saw any of this silly stuff while you were in college.   Come on people, let’s put it to an end.

 

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World Coalition.  To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here. 

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “Kappa Alpha Psi Members Arrested After Alleged Hazing Incident

  1. marthajean roe

    I thought hazing had already met a dead end. I was suprised to hear of this incident after a number of years not having to concern myself with thise kind of warfare.
    These boys are violent, and was looking for a taRGET TO VICTIMIZE. tHEY
    WERE NOT GOING TO DEFRAY THIS BEHAVIOR. iT DOES NOT MATTER THAT IT TOOK PLACE ON A COLLEGE CAMPUS. iT IS JUST SO HAPPEN THAT THEY FOUND AN OPPORTUNITY TO CARRY OUT THEIR TRYANNY.
    tHIS KIND OF VIOLENT BEHAVIOR REALLY HAS NO PREDICTORS OR SELECTED LOCATIONS.

    sO THE POINT I WOULD LIKE TO MAKE HERE IS THAT GREEK ORGANIZATIONS AMONG BLACKS IS POSITIVE, EFFECTIVE AND PRODUCTIVE.
    THEY GIVE MANY THE FEELING OF CONNECTION AND SUPPORT FROM OTHERS WHICH ARE IS ESSENTIAL TO SUCCEEDING SCHOLASTICALLY AND SOCIALLY, AND CAN PROVIDE A BASIS FOR INDIVIDUAL ECONOMIC PROGRESS. THESE PEOPLE ARE LEADERS IN MANY COMMUNITIES IN A WAY THAT WOULD NOT BE POSSIBLE WITHOUT THE BENEFIT OF THESE ORGANIZATIONS.
    i CAN FEEL YOUR OUTRAGE OVER LOSING EVEN ONE YOUNG MAN TO THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM-IT IS HORRIBLE. bUT DEALING WITH THIS ISSUE AFTER THE FACT IS A BIT HYPOCRITICAL. tHE TIME OF DEALING WITH THIS KIND OF ISSUE AMONG YOUNG BLACK MEN IS ON-GOING, INTERVENING, NURTURING, AND MENTONING WHILE IS ALREADY HAPPENING IN MANY WAYS AND IN MANY DIFFERNT COMMUNITIES. i APPLAUD THESE EFFORTS, AND PERHAPS GOING FORWARD WE CAN BE THERE FOR OTHER FRAT BROTHERS WHO MIGHT BE SAVED BY OUR POWERS OF INFLUENCE AND PERSUASION. REMEMBER: “FEW MEN ARE OPEN TO CONVICTION; BUT THE MAJORITY OF MEN IS OPEN TO PERSUASION.” TRY IT. MARTHA

  2. collegebound1@bellsouth.net

    Hazing had been going on for years. College administrations turn a blind I to what’s happening until someone gets hurt and so do the top administration of the Greeks. A friend of my just pledged in the graduate chapter and he was hazed. You will not beat me then call yourself my sister or brother.

  3. cat

    The administrations of these organizations know whats’ going on and so do the schools. Everyone turns a blind eye until someone is seriously hurt. You can not beat me then call me your bother or sister. It is sad that our young people think they have to take this type of abuse to belong.

  4. Sigmasoul

    There is a misinterperted thought that hazing of all types was approved years before. “If it was good then then it’s good now”. It was not good back then. Members were being supended back “then” for similar activities. Plus now in this litigious environment, these actions could bankrupt any organization. Young Brothers and Sisters, you have to think!! Remember it is cheaper to kill someone than to mame them. If mamed, medical cost over the victim’s lifespan could cost millions of dollars. The money that could be used to help our communities, then has to be used for legal fees. Ya’ gotta’ think!!!

  5. Harrison E.B. Wilson

    I could not agree more. It saddeens and sickens me when I read about this. I am a member of Kappa Alpha Psi, Inc. and while pledging was at times unpleasent, it was not brutal!!! These young people are mislead by older members who have either forgotten the reason or did not learn what fraternity is.

  6. This is a tragic story. I am a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. I “crossed the sands” December 12, 1965, after a one year pledge period. A fraternity is like any sampling of society. It reflects the prevalence in the population at large for personality styles. There is a selection bias that is often based on the campus cultural ethos and mythology about one group or the others. However a close look reveals the young men in my day and I suspect today as well are pretty much cut from the same cultural cloth. We were in the in the developmental phase of life where identity formation was the primary task. The fraternity providing a critical rite of passage that otherwise would have been missing for many. It forged values that are sustaining. It was my first introduction to historical consciousness, cultural fidelity, and agency. I joined a fraternity formed under the selective pressure of the early 20th century residuals of the Maafa on Cornel’s campus in 1906. Men who wanted to escape the isolation, alienation, and ambient and actual hazing of a racist environment while attempting to acquire an education. They came together as a self help support group and ultimately became Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. In the 1920’s Alpha launched a Go To School Go To College Program to motivate African American men to go to college. These outreach efforts continue and the proud heritage of Alpha has touched many. This is what college fraternities mean to me. This is why at 65 years of age I still wear my life member pin daily. I would not feel dressed without it. Did I encounter the outlier sadist when I pledged? They were there. They only came to fraternity meetings when there was a line. They were not respected by the leadership of the fraternity. Years later people still mention their names in infamy, Thad Jones, Bugger Red, Harold Carter, etc. They do not however represent the proud tradition that left me with pride of 06. No that would be Kirby Kirksey, James Douglas, James Race etc. What does this have to do with hazing? What point am I making? Simply this, there are sadist in any subgroup and latent and manifest sadistic behavior is endemic in group process. This is a universal and not specific to Black fraternities and sororities.

  7. Annette

    When will they dumb a** learn?! Why is it that these soroities and fraternities think hazing promotes sisterhood and brotherhood? Maybe, just maybe, this will be a wake up call to all greeks at all universities!

  8. John Aldrich

    I pledged Kappa in 1964 and I am embarrassed and saddened by this display of irresponsible behavior by younger Kappas. Hazing has been outlawed for many years and until stronger sanctions are applied by the leadership, this hurtful and dangerous behavior will never stop. I hope National will take some swift and decisive action on this.

  9. BARB

    IF GUILTY GGGGGGO STRAIGHT TO JAIL. WE MUST STOP BULLING.

  10. Dr. George Moorman

    I am a KAPPA (1976). I am dismayed at the senseless brutality imposed on each other in the name of brotherhood. There were three on line with me at the University of Ky. One was taken off line by his family who came to campus armed and strapped. The other suffered a busted spleen and ear drum. He and I crossed eventually (our dean of pledges ran off with our fees and kept us on line until grad chapter stepped in and took us over). He is in a nursing home in Chicago. My son wanted to pledge at Morehouse until they lost their chapter due to hazing.
    We need to make it plain that fraternities/sororities are not gangs, Kappas are not the Bloods. The pledge period can be enhanced to the point that hazing is not needed. How many know that the Greeks were not responsible for initiation rites? That the Greeks were introduced to fraternaties by the Egyptians? That the Greeks didn’t have language until Egypt developed it for them? That Greek language is a derivative of African dialect and phonetics? What is wrong with including exercise and healthy lifestyles in a pledge period.
    Those are some of the things we should be teaching our potential frats/sorors. The University of Ky. has also lost its chapter as a result of hazing. What irks me more than anything is how non-chalant the younger brothers are to the lost. I and several alums had tried to talk to them concerning their actions. However, they were under the impression that THEY were in charge of the fraternity on campus. It is similar to parents working all their lives, building an estate and turning it over to children who don’t understand it’s real value or its place in the total community.
    Now that the chapter is lost, they are reaching out to the alums. We are going to eventually be reinstated.
    I will receive negative emails for sharing what I’ve shared. However, if you are really concerned and love your frat/soror, lets get together and develop a pledge period that can be utilized in all fraternities/sororities.
    It is time for a national Black panhellenic conference on hazing and proper pledging techniques and dynamics. We are one fraternity/sorority with many different divisions and expressions.

  11. Johnnie Warner

    If you know your Black History, you would know that the Greeks had destroyed the ancient great Black nations. The Greek culture is referred to as Hell-enes. Why would Blacks want to partake in a culture that had destroyed their ancestors and maybe the spiritual culture of satan?

  12. Kenneth "Maddog" Madison

    The root cause for this behavior is the need for social acceptance followed by social dominance in eyes of the student populance and the fraternity disenfranchiesed.

    Both goals are directly related to the word “NO.” Those that did the act don’t want to accept “The No” that Kappas don’t do this anymore and those that allowed the acts to be done to them, don’t want to accept “The No” associated with their perceived acceptance of those committing the act.

    These acts have very little to do with greekdom or brotherhood….it is all about social acceptance and dominance….Facebook, Youtube and Twitter.

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