The mother of a player on the Northwestern University women’s basketball team who died in 2017 has sued a sorority, claiming hazing by its members led to her daughter’s suicide.
Felicia Hankins, the mother of late Jordan Hankins, said the hazing of Jordan by members of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority caused severe anxiety and depression and led to her death in January 2017.
The complaint, which filed Tuesday, January 8, claims 20-year-old Jordan Hankins took her own life in 2017 because of hazing that occurred while she pledged the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority at the campus in Evanston, Illinois, according to the Daily Northwestern.
The 50-page complaint lists AKA and 11 other defendants including student members and advisors at the time. According to the Associated Press, the lawsuit filed by Felicia in U.S. District Court in Chicago also names the Gamma Chi undergraduate chapter of the sorority at Northwestern, the Delta Chi Omega graduate chapter of the sorority and sorority executives.
Hankins, who was a sophomore at the time, attended a rush event for the sorority in October 2016 and was told she must agree to a post-initiation pledge process, which she later learned involved padding, verbal abuse and financial exploitation, according to the suit.
The lawsuit contends Hankins was “subjected to physical abuse including paddling, verbal abuse, mental abuse, financial exploitation, sleep deprivation, items being thrown and dumped on her, and other forms of hazing intended to humiliate and demean her.”
The complaint alleges the defendants knew or should have known the hazing activities were “extreme, outrageous and unlawful.”
“Defendants’ conduct was intentional and done with the purpose of causing Hankins to suffer humiliation, mental anguish, and emotional and physical distress,” the suit states.
Attorneys for Hankins’s mother Felicia said in the suit filed in Illinois federal court that the athlete’s death was “foreseeable.”
A University spokesman Jon Yates said Northwestern is aware of the lawsuit.
“Northwestern remains deeply saddened by the death of Jordan Hankins two years ago, and we continue to send our kindest thoughts and condolences to her friends and family,” Yates said in a statement on Wednesday, January 9. “The sorority involved has been and continues to be suspended from the University.”
Who Is Jordan Hankins?
Jordan Hankins was a Weinberg college sophomore at Northwestern University and a guard on the women’s basketball team. She attended a rush event for the sorority in October 2016 and had since been through hazings.
Hankins reportedly informed sorority members that the hazing caused to experience suicidal thoughts before she hung herself in her dorm room in January 2017.
The people who were close to her remembered her as a warm and selfless friend.