‘He was told that he was going to die’: University of Alabama student files hazing lawsuit against fraternity

Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 5:10 PM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - A student and his parents are suing a fraternity at the University of Alabama after they say the student was hazed, leading to a traumatic brain injury.

The 25-page lawsuit filed Tuesday against Sigma Alpha Epsilon and obtained by WBRC claims the pledge, identified as H.B., suffered a severe beating, including a fraternity member throwing a basketball at his head, instructing him to snort a white powdery substance, and telling him to yell racial slurs at a Black student.

The claim also says H.B. was forced into a basement “where he was told that he was going to ‘die.’” It goes on to say six active Sigma Alpha Epsilon members struck H.B. in his face, side of the head, stomach and sides. H.B. claims he began suffering dizziness and tinnitus of the ear. The hazing continued and H.B. chose not to fight back for fear of worse retaliation, according to the lawsuit.

The suit goes on to claim that despite the national organization instituting a ban on hazing in 2014, that did not happen. Court documents also say the national organization was negligent and did not make an effort to stop hazing.

The parents of H.B. are asking for money for medical expenses and punitive damages.

WBRC reached out to Sigma Alpha Epsilon and a spokesperson provided the following statement via email:

The Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity Service Center was made aware of an incident in August involving members of our chapter at the University of Alabama. Upon learning of the alleged incident, SAE immediately began working with the administration at The University of Alabama to investigate the allegations. We are also fully cooperating with local law enforcement to investigate the incident and have urged all of our local members to do the same.

It is not our practice to comment on matters related to litigation. Still, we want to be clear that acts of hazing and misconduct do not represent the Fraternity’s values, which are defined by our creed, The True Gentleman, and will not be tolerated. Members who engage in these activities will be held accountable to the fullest extent.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon