Photo: Sigma Gamma Rho logo.
Several Rutgers University students claim they endured beatings at the hands of their would-be big sisters while pledging a sorority. Now, six young women are under arrest, facing serious hazing charges.
The police made arrests at a university dormitory both Tuesday and Wednesday. The charge is aggravated hazing, an illegal initiation ritual that in this case allegedly left one student's buttocks bruised and bleeding from a wooden paddle.
"I think it's horrible. I feel so bad for the people who were in it and went through with it," senior Amna Kahmat said to CBS affiliate WCBS.
Six members of Sigma Gamma Rho, an African-American sorority, are accused in the scandal.
The women are Vanessa Adegbite; Kesha Cheron, a School of Arts and Sciences junior; Ilana Warner, a Livingston College senior; Joana Bernard; Marie Charles, a Douglass College senior, and Shawna Ebanks, a Rutgers College senior, according to the Rutgers Daily Targum.
The police said the alleged victims were paddled, belittled and denied food in an off-campus dorm over an eight-day period and one required medical attention.
One girl said she knows some of the alleged victims.
"Everybody that goes through pledge classes are always more down and a little more like morose walking around school, but they didn't seem like they weren't eating or anything like that," junior Jeanette Hylton said.
Both the university and the sorority's national office issued stern "zero-tolerance" statements Wednesday night.
All six accused students are out on bail. They're suspended from school and their sorority is suspended pending the outcome of a series of investigations.