On November 20, 2010, Victoria T’nya-Ann Carter was in the backseat of a car that was headed to a pre-dawn hair appointment. That was an unusual time for a hair appointment, but it was based on her soon-to-be induction into Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. (Newsobserver.com)
Unfortunately, Carter never made it to that appointment, because the car she was riding in careened off a North Carolina Road and slammed into a tree. She and another East Carolina University student were killed. Now, a lawsuit has been filed against the sorority, with a claim that this single-car accident was caused by a hazing initiation, that led up to that ride.
The driver of the car has already pled guilty to two counts of misdemeanor death by a motor vehicle. The Carter lawsuit, brought by her mother, claims that the driver was suffering from “excessive and overwhelming fatigue, exhaustion and sleep deprivation”. Ultimately, she “fell asleep behind the wheel”.
Following the crash, University officials conducted their own investigation. The investigators could not get the sorority to cooperate in providing information from its members. The sorority was immediately put on probation by the University.
It was later learned and according to the lawsuit, the following are the facts that led up to the crash: 17 pledges were required to live together in a two-bedroom, two bathroom apartment. There, and with the specific intent, they had difficulty getting sleep. They were also required to perform exercises that consisted of doing “wall sits”, which meant holding their backs against the wall in a seated position for long periods of time.
The pledges were also forced to stand on one leg and hold heavy bricks over their heads for long periods of time, while being subjected to ridicule and humiliation from the “Big Sisters”. They were forced to rub hot sauce on their lips and drink a “Delta Apple” which was made from a large raw onion. They then were made to eat large amounts of cottage cheese and drink buttermilk.
The nights and morning before the crash, the pledges had been perfecting the sorority “probate death march” and were kept awake. Then, they were sent for 6 a.m. hair appointments. The lawsuit claims that the sorority caused the events that led to the crash and should therefore be held accountable.
I am sure that the defense attorneys for the sorority will defend the claim by pointing the finger of responsibility away from the sorority, and to the driver. When I read the lawsuit, I see peer pressure that led to the crash. It was a recipe for disaster. Hopefully, this will have some long term impact on what is condoned at Universities.
For pic o’ day, I post a picture that seems to indicate some employee anger… I’m making that mental leap.